Docs missed opportunity to eradicate cancer, estate alleged
|Failure to Treat, Medical Malpractice - Failure to Test, Medical Malpractice - Failure to Detect, Medical Malpractice - Cancer Diagnosis, Medical Malpractice - OB-GYN, Medical Malpractice - Oncologist, Wrongful Death - Survival Damages|
|Ilia Figueroa v. Chien-Jen Huang, M.D., No. 118072/09|
|New York Supreme, NY|
|Alice H. Schlesinger | Seymour Boyers Esq.
- Jason D. Friedman; Smiley & Smiley, LLP; New York, NY, for Ilia Figueroa
- Charles Lim; Ellenberg & Partners, LLP; New York, NY, for Chien-Jen Huang
- Matthew L. Prisco; McAloon & Friedman, P.C.; New York, NY, for Lorraine E. Williams
- Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. for both defendants
On Oct. 30, 2007, plaintiff Ilia Figueroa, 45, an airline's flight-service manager, underwent surgical removal of her uterus and ovaries, which contained cancerous tissue. The procedure was performed by an oncologist, Dr. Chien-Jen Huang.
Huang believed that Figueroa's cancer had not progressed beyond the first stage of development, so he opined that chemotherapy and other adjuvant treatment were not necessary. Figueroa's care was relinquished to her treating gynecologist, Dr. Lorraine Williams.
During the ensuing 14 months, Williams performed four examinations of Figueroa. Williams did not perform any tests that could have detected a persistence or recurrence of Figueroa's cancer.
On April 29, 2009, Figueroa returned to Williams. Figueroa was suffering a severely painful condition of her abdomen. She was referred to a hospital, where a test revealed that she was suffering stage-IV metastatic cancer that had originated in her ovaries.
Figueroa sued Huang and Williams. Figueroa alleged that Huang and Williams failed to eradicate her cancer. Figueroa further alleged that the doctors' failures constituted malpractice.
Figueroa's cancer ultimately claimed her life. The case was continued by Figueroa's daughter, Raquel Soriano, who was acting individually and as the administrator of Figueroa's estate.
Plaintiffs' counsel claimed that Figueroa's surgery should have been followed by the administration of chemotherapy. He contended that the treatment could have eradicated any cancer that had not been removed during the surgery that Huang performed. He also contended that the doctors should have performed other procedures that could have detected persistence or recurrence of Figueroa's cancer. He claimed that necessary procedures included examinations of Figueroa's pelvic region, radiological studies and tests of Figueroa's blood.
Huang contended that chemotherapy and other adjuvant treatment were not necessary. He claimed that his postsurgical care included the provision of a note that specified that Figueroa had to undergo follow-up gynecological evaluations, and he contended that Williams would have known that those evaluations would have included examinations of Figueroa's pelvic region, radiological studies and tests of Figueroa's blood.
Williams noted that Huang's involvement included an oncological evaluation, and she contended that an oncologist should provide a specific description of any treatment that is necessary.
On April 29, 2009, Figueroa learned that she was suffering stage-IV metastatic cancer. She underwent several types of chemotherapy, but her cancer ultimately claimed her life. Plaintiffs' counsel claimed that proper treatment could have eradicated Figueroa's cancer.
Figueroa, 49, died on Feb. 21, 2011. She was survived by a daughter, a son and two grandchildren. Figueroa's estate sought recovery of wrongful-death damages that included lost earnings and damages for Figueroa's pain and suffering. Figueroa's daughter presented a derivative claim.
Defense counsel contended that Figueroa's cancer may have survived any type of treatment.
Defense counsel also contended that Figueroa consumed most of her income. As such, they claimed that the estate was not entitled to the recovery of lost earnings.
The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement, which was finalized via the guidance of mediator Seymour Boyers. Huang's insurer agreed to pay $1,295,000, and Williams' insurer agreed to pay $555,000. Thus, the settlement totaled $1.85 million. The doctors were insured by the same carrier, and their policies provided total coverage of $2.3 million.
This report is based on court documents, information that was provided by plaintiffs' counsel and information that was provided by Huang's counsel. Williams' counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.