Failure to Diagnose Leads to Stage IV Terminal Cancer
A 56-year-old woman was awarded $15.1 million after doctors failed to diagnose a suspicious 1.4 cm mass in her left lung as a potential cancer. Michael Cogan, Thomas Prindable and Hadas Corey of Cogan & Power, P.C. represented the woman who would eventually come to suffer from stage IV terminal cancer. The jury awarded her monetary compensation for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, past loss of normal life, future loss of normal life, disfigurement, emotional distress, and shortened life expectancy.
Read the Article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Below:
Past medical expenses: $1,138,483.14 Future medical expenses: $693,600.00 Past pain and suffering: $750,000.00 Future pain and suffering: $1,500,000.00 Past loss of normal life: $500,000.00 Future loss of normal life: $1,500,000.00 Disfigurement: $100,000.00 Emotional distress: $2,000,000.00 Shortened Life Expectancy: $7,000,000.00
Below is a summary of the events:
Judy Skorek presented to Edward Hospital on November 11, 2011, and underwent a CT angiogram ordered by her non-defendant cardiologist to rule out a cardiac aneurysm. Ms. Skorek did not know that her cardiologist’s partner, defendant Stanley E. Clark, M.D., would be interpreting the study. Both physicians were employees of Midwest Heart Specialists, Ltd, which later merged into Advocate. Dr. Clark did not report a suspicious 1.4cm mass present in the left lung.
In late 2014/early 2015, Ms. Skorek developed slurred speech, headaches and gait change and underwent tests at Edward Hospital which ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of lung cancer that had metastasized to the brain. Ms. Skorek underwent craniotomy and Gamma knife procedures to remove the three brain mets and then was begun on standard chemotherapy for an adenocarcinoma, non-Small cell cancer,
Ms. Skorek’s treating oncologist at Northwestern, Dr. Young Chae, sent out a sample of his patient’s cancer to Foundation Medicine and received back a report indicating that Ms. Skorek’s cancer had numerous mutations including a rare EGFR Rad-51 mutation/fusion which could be treated with the drug Erlotinib. Ms. Skorek developed a new brain metastasis in 2016 which was treated with Gamma radiation and Dr. Chae then Switched MS. Skorek to Erlotinib. Ms. Skorek remains on Erlotinib to this day, a pill taken orally once a day that results in skin rashes and fatigue. Nevertheless, Ms. Skorek continues to teach at Adler University in Chicago. She has her Doctorate in Counseling.
Testimony from plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Gregory Sarna (Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles) and Dr. Chae was that the Erlotinib will fail in one to two years and that Ms. Skorek will likely die within one to two years thereafter. (2 to 4-year life expectancy)
The defendant, Stanley E. Clark, M.D., admitted at trial that he violated the standard of care in failing to report the Suspicious mass present on the CT-angiogram and Judge McWilliams granted plaintiff’s motion for a directed finding on that issue. The jury was left to consider proximate cause and damages only. Testimony was unrebutted that had the cancer been diagnosed in 2011, that it would have been a Stage 1A and that lobectomy alone would have resulted in an 89 to 90% cure rate.