A Philadelphia jury awarded more than $3 million to a woman who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit after her colon cancer went undiagnosed for almost two years.
On June 13, 2006, Marlene Goncalves, 34 at the time, went to the emergency room at Jeanes Hospital, complaining of bloody stools and lower abdominal pain. Dr. Mark G. Brown, a radiologist with Northeast Imaging Associates of Philadelphia, performed a CT scan on her abdomen and pelvis and found nothing. Goncalves underwent an appendectomy and a diagnostic laparoscopy the next day with a different doctor who found a ruptured ovarian cyst. The physician gave her a Percocet prescription and sent her home.
Two years later, Goncalves had a colonoscopy, which confirmed an ulcerated mass in her transverse colon, according to The Legal Intelligencer. Doctors diagnosed her with stage III carcinoma of the colon.
The medical malpractice lawsuit claimed that Dr. Brown and Jeanes Hospital were negligent for failing to detect her colon cancer when he performed the initial CT scan. It also said that the 22-month delay caused the cancer to progress from a stage I or II to a stage III, losing the chance of a cure through surgery and reducing her chances of being cancer-free.
The jury deliberated for one day and handed down their verdict to compensate Goncalves for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past lost earnings, future lost earnings, and pain and suffering.