When you walk with Ms. Wickman, you never walk alone.

Failure To Diagnose Leukemia

Date of Verdict/Settlement: July 6, 2012


Medical Malpractice – Failure to diagnose leukemia leading to premature death.

Summary: Award Total: $1.45 million

RESULT (Settlement): The parties agreed to $1.45 million during pretrial conferences.

Insurance Carrier: Self-insured for  New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation.


Plaintiff: Victoria Wickman; Law Office of Victoria Wickman.; New York, NY

Defendant: Mark Sullivan Esq., Law Offices of Salvatore J. Russo,  of counsel to New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, New York, NY

Judge: Peter J. O’Donoghue

State: New York; County: Queens


In November 2006, decedent, 50, a diamond setter, presented at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens complaining of chest pain, shortness of breath, prolonged fever, rashes, welts, armpit and leg swelling, fatigue and weight loss. Molina continued to present at the hospital numerous times with various complaints through February 2008. On March 5, 2008, the decedent flew to his home country of Ecuador to seek medical treatment. A bone marrow biopsy was performed, and he was diagnosed the next day with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. The decedent passed away on November 8, 2008.

The decedent’s wife, as Administrator of his estate, sued the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, for medical malpractice. The plaintiffs accused the hospital staff of failing to diagnose the decedent with Leukemia and depriving him of a chance of cure.

They further claimed that in October 2007, a clinic physician admitted the decedent into Elmhurst for the purpose of having a bone marrow biopsy but he was discharged the next day without it being performed. Plaintiffs also claimed that no one took any steps to rule in or out the probability that the decedent’s symptoms were consistent with cancer. The defense argued that the diagnosis could not have been made any earlier than when doctors in Ecuador diagnosed his cancer. Defense further argued that Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia has a poor prognosis.

Injuries/Damages: Leukemia; Death; Loss of Parental Guidance; Loss of Financial Support

Plaintiffs claim that Elmhurst Hospital failed to diagnose what was causing the decedent’s symptoms during his visits there from November 2006 through February 2008. The decedent decided to seek medical treatment in his home country of Ecuador on March 5, 2008.  Plaintiff’s claim that a bone marrow biopsy was performed at a local hospital in Quito that diagnosed him with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Plaintiff’s claim that the decedent was given only one round of chemotherapy because he had adverse reactions. Plaintiffs claimed that he passed away on Nov. 8, 2008, from leukemia. The plaintiffs sought to recover damages for conscious pain and suffering of the decedent, loss of parental guidance and loss of financial support. The plaintiffs claimed that the decedent should have been diagnosed in or around November 2006 but was not until March 2008. They claimed that the decedent suffered from repeated pneumonia, fatigue, rashes, nosebleeds, fever, body pain, weight loss, swelling in armpits and legs, and welts from his initial visits to Elmhurst and until he died. The defense argued that it is impossible for a person to have been walking around with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia for two years before dying and therefore the decedent could not have been diagnosed earlier.