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Quintero v. Holm

S/Richmond Verdict. Date of Verdict 12/17/2021 – failure to diagnose fallopian tube cancer. $1,000,000.00 verdict

Defense attorney – Glen Dofp, Esq. Dopf, PC

The decedent presented to OB/GYN Dr. Holm complaining of post menopausal bleeding. The doctor appropriately scheduled her for an endometrial biopsy that was normal. The record indicated that the decedent was informed that the biopsy results were normal and could be the result of vaginal atrophy. 8 months later, the decedent was found to have stage IV fallopian tube cancer. She passed away 13 months later.

The plaintiff contended that the decedent was not informed that a normal biopsy did not rule out cancer and that if she continued bleeding she should return for further testing. Further, plaintiff’s expert testified that during the ultrasound, the ovaries and tubes were not visualized. Therefore, a transvaginal ultrasound should have been performed in order to visualized the ovaries and the tubes. The defendant contended that the lack of visualization of the ovaries and tubes was a normal finding and not necessary to perform a transvaginal ultrasound. The defendant also maintained that despite not documenting that she informed the decedent to return if the post menopausal bleeding continued, that it was her custom and practice to do so. The court did not preclude the defendant from testifying to what she informed the decedent despite the Dead Man’s Statute. The defendant also maintained that this was a very rare cancer and not diagnosable at that time.

The jury found that the defendant departed from the standard of care in not performing a transvaginal ultrasound but that it was not a substantial factor in causing harm. They found that the defendant did depart in failing to inform the decedent to return if she continued to bleed and that was a substantial factor. They awarded the Estate $1,000,000.00 and found the decedent 40% comparatively negligent for failing to seek a second opinion.