$2.45 Million Awarded in Connecticut for Misdiagnosis of Cancer
A $2.45 million judgment was awarded to the estate of a woman who died after being treated for ovarian cancer during a four-year period when she actually had PMP, a rare cancer of the abdomen. The woman succumbed to cancer in January 2009. The suit was brought against Stamford Hospital doctors Iris Wertheim and Isodore Tepler.
After going to Wertheim with pain in her side in August 2001, the woman was told she had ovarian cancer and underwent a hysterectomy, as well as removal of her appendix. A pathologist studied the tumors that were removed during surgery and diagnosed PMP, although Wertheim ignored the information and referred her to Tepler, an oncologist, for treatment of ovarian cancer.
After being told by Tepler she was cancer free in March 2002, the woman returned for an exam in October 2003 where she was then told she had extensive cancer. She underwent aggressive chemotherapy treatment by Tepler, yet her cancer continued to spread. She then consulted with another physician who confirmed she had PMP and underwent abdominal surgery to remove her colon.
Experts testified for the plaintiffs stating that with proper diagnosis and treatment the woman would have lived another 10 years.
The lawsuit gained national attention because the survivor winning the award, who is also a woman, won loss of consortium. The couple had been together for 25 years. Connecticut enacted the same-sex civil union bill on Oct. 1, 2005, which gave same-sex couples the same rights as married couples. Prior to that only married couples could sue for loss of consortium.
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