Tina’s cousin was a local attorney who recommended she meet us after she was diagnosed with Stage IV rectal cancer. Needless to say, her cancer diagnosis came as a shock to her, her husband, and her three children. When she heard the diagnosis, her mind was immediately drawn back to a colonoscopy she had had 18 months earlier. She couldn’t understand. How could she have Stage IV cancer when she had had a “clear” colonoscopy 18 months before? Well, after meeting with Tina and her family, we ordered her medical records, including the results of biopsies that had been obtained during her colonoscopy. We sent the medical records to a well-respected medical expert who discovered that biopsies were taken during her colonoscopy, but a pathologist had misread the biopsy samples. While she was told her colonoscopy was “clear,” it was anything but—and had this pathologist done his job, Tina’s cancer would have been diagnosed 18 months earlier than it was.
Armed with our expert’s opinions, we filed suit against the pathologist who had failed to recognize the existence of cancer, and argued that had Tina’s cancer been diagnosed 18 months earlier, it would have been (at worst) a Stage II cancer — when treatments would have given her a 75%-80% likelihood of a total cure. Instead, because her cancer was allowed to grow in her rectum for 18 months, any treatment options that would have saved her life had evaporated by the time the diagnosis was made.
Tina’s cancer proved fatal. Before she died, we were able to resolve her case for a multi-million dollar settlement. We will never forget personally delivering Tina’s settlement check to her. We sat on her deck for hours talking about what she had been through, the fear she felt knowing her cancer was going to take her life, and the anger and frustration she felt knowing that had her doctor done his job, she would have been able to live a long life, and see her children and granddaughter grow up. Tina was able to live the rest of her months knowing that her children and their families would be forever taken care of in a way she could no longer do because of her illness. She was a wonderful woman, and we’re proud to say we were able to give her the comfort of knowing that her family would be financially safe and sound, even after she was gone.