Cancer not evident during sonography, docs contended
|Failure to Diagnose, Medical Malpractice - Failure to Test, Medical Malpractice - Breast Cancer, Medical Malpractice - Cancer Diagnosis, Medical Malpractice - Radiology, Medical Malpractice - Radiologist|
|Maria Tejeda, and Jose Tejeda v. Romelle J. Maloney, M.D., Peter A. Fauci, Jr., M.D., New Rochelle Associates, P.C., David Green, M.D., Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester, Sound Shore Radiology and Isaiah J. Seligman, M.D., No. 3102/09|
|Westchester Supreme, NY|
|Bruce E. Tolbert
- James C. Freeman; Kent Hazzard LLP; White Plains, NY, for Maria Tejeda, Jose Tejeda
- Alfred Cretella M.D.; Oncology; Cooperstown, NY called by: James Freeman
- Howard Gelber M.D.; Radiology; Hewlett, NY called by: James Freeman
- John J. Corgan; Schiavetti, Corgan, DiEdwards, Weinberg & Nicholson, LLP; White Plains, NY, for Peter A. Fauci Jr.
- Michael F. Grady; Rende, Ryan & Downes, LLP; White Plains, NY, for New Rochelle Radiology Associates, P.C., David Green, Isaiah J. Seligman
- None reported; null, null, for Romelle J. Maloney, Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester, Sound Shore Radiology
- Bonnie Litvack; Radiology; Mount Kisco, NY called by: Michael Grady
- Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Co. for Green, New Rochelle Radiology Associates and Seligman
- Physicians' Reciprocal Insurers for Fauci
On Sept. 8, 2006, plaintiff Maria Tejeda, 40, a housekeeper, underwent a sonography that addressed her breasts. The sonography's results were interpreted by radiologist Dr. Isaiah Seligman. Seligman noted that Tejeda's right breast contained a mass and a smaller nodule. He recommended performance of a biopsy that would address each growth.
On Sept. 21, 2006, Tejeda underwent a biopsy of her right breast. The procedure was performed by radiologist Dr. David Green. Green biopsied the larger of the two growths that Seligman had detected, and he opined that the tissue was a benign growth: a hyalinized fibroadenoma. Green did not biopsy the smaller growth, but he opined that it was a benign nodule. He recommended an increase of the frequency of Tejeda's screening examinations. Tejeda was referred to a surgeon, Dr. Peter Fauci Jr., who opined that the nodule required six months of monitoring.
On June 12, 2007, Tejeda underwent a sonography that addressed her right breast. The test revealed the presence of cysts and three nodules.
On June 28, 2007, Tejeda returned to Fauci. Fauci reviewed the results of the most recent sonography, and he recommended performance of a biopsy. The procedure addressed two of the three nodules that occupied Tejeda's breast. The interpreting radiologist determined that the nodules were benign.
On Nov. 9, 2007, Tejeda was examined by her gynecologist, Dr. Romelle Maloney. Tejeda reported that she had detected a painful lump that occupied her right breast. Maloney opined that the lump was a bruise, but she recommended performance of a mammography of Tejeda's right breast. The tests revealed lesions, and a subsequent biopsy revealed that one lesion was a stage-III invasive ductal carcinoma. Tejeda underwent extensive treatment, but her doctors have advised that her cancer could recur. Tejeda claimed that the disease could have been diagnosed in September 2006. She contended that prompt treatment would have decreased the disease's progression and potentially fatal effects.
Tejeda sued Green and Seligman; their practice, New Rochelle Radiology Associates, P.C.; Fauci; Seligman; Maloney; and Maloney's employers, Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester and Sound Shore Radiology Services. Tejeda alleged that Fauci, Green, Maloney and Seligman failed to diagnose her cancer; that the failures constituted malpractice; that New Rochelle Radiology Associates was vicariously liable for the actions of Green and Seligman; and that Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester and Sound Shore Radiology Services were vicariously liable for Maloney's actions.
Tejeda's counsel ultimately discontinued the claims against Maloney, Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester and Sound Shore Radiology Services. The matter proceeded to a trial against Fauci, Green, New Rochelle Radiology Associates and Seligman, but Fauci was released during the trial.
Tejeda's counsel claimed that Green and Seligman failed to properly assess the nature of the smaller of the two growths that were detected in September 2006. He contended that the smaller growth was an early form of the cancer that was ultimately diagnosed. He noted that Seligman had prescribed a biopsy of the mass, but that Green did not perform the biopsy.
The defense's expert radiologist opined that the September 2006 tests did not reveal any indication of cancer. She also opined that Green prescribed reasonable follow-up care. Defense counsel contended that the tests revealed nonspecific shadows that could have been fat, benign tissue or innocuous variations produced by the radiological instruments that the doctors had used.
In November 2007, Tejeda learned that she was suffering a stage-III invasive ductal carcinoma of her right breast. On Jan. 10, 2008, she underwent surgery that included a lymphadenectomy and a mastectomy. She subsequently underwent chemotherapy and the application of radiation. She also underwent surgical reduction of her left breast. The latter procedure was intended to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of her cancer.
Tejeda claimed that her cancer should have been diagnosed in September 2006. She contended that prompt treatment would have greatly decreased the disease's likelihood of recurrence.
Tejeda sought recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering. Her husband sought recovery of damages for loss of companionship, services and society.
Defense counsel noted that Ms. Tejeda's cancer has not recurred.
The jury rendered a defense verdict.
This report is based on information that was provided by counsel of Green, New Rochelle Radiology Associates and Seligman. Fauci's counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls, and the remaining defendants' counsel was not asked to contribute. Plaintiffs' counsel indicated that the report contains inaccuracies, but he did not provide further details.