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

Settlement Reached For Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Date of Verdict/Settlement: January 5, 2010

Topic: Medical Malpractice Cancer Diagnosis – Delayed Diagnosis – Medical Malpractice – Delayed Treatment

Summary: Award Total: $650,000

RESULT: Settlement

The parties agreed to a $650,000 settlement.

Insurance Carrier: Medical Liability Insurance Co.


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

Defendant: Gerard Marulli, Marulli, Lindenbaum, Edelman & Tomaszewski, New York, NY

Judge: Michelle Weston

State: New York; County: Kings

Injuries: Cancer; hematuria; metastatic cancer; loss of services

The decedent’s unidentified 1 cm mass advanced to stage IV metastatic cancer. In Aug. 2005, the decedent succumbed to bladder cancer. The decedent’s wife, as the administratrix of the Estate of the decedent, sought the recovery of damages for the loss of services from the work that the decedent would have done at her home and a loss of economic support as the decedent’s pension and disability benefit stopped when he had expired. Plaintiff accounted for $147,000 in economic loss. The Estate of the plaintiff sought the recovery of damages for the decedent’s past pain and suffering. Defendant argued a minimum of damages suffered on part of the plaintiffs, citing the rate of recurrence of poorly differentiated bladder cancer is very high, and the cancer would have returned even if detected at an earlier stage. Defense further argued the decedent was 79 years old with diabetes, hypertension, the onset of dementia and renal disease.

Facts: In Dec. 2004, the decedent, 79, a retired shipping clerk, married, presented to the defendant with gross hematuria and what the defendant ordered was a renal and pelvic ultrasound and antibiotics. The decedent returned to the defendant’s office the following month, again with gross hematuria and the defendant reordered antibiotics and advised the decedent to hydrate.

The following month, the decedent presented with clear urine. In April 2005, the decedent presented to his primary care physician who noted an abdominal mass and ordered a CT scan of the decedent’s abdomen and pelvis, which revealed a 4 cm mass arising from the bladder. The CT scan report indicated the mass was suspicious for bladder cancer. On April 26, 2005, the defendant performed a rigid cystoscopy and reportedly found nothing. No further testing or operations were undertaken regarding the 4 cm mass. In June 2005, the mass had grown to 8 cm; the decedent was diagnosed with poorly differentiated metastatic bladder cancer with spread to the pelvic wall and liver. The decedent underwent chemo and radiation therapy and succumbed to the disease on Aug. 18, 2005. The Administratrix of the Estate of the decedent sued the defendant, alleging as a result of the delay in diagnosis, the decedent’s bladder cancer was permitted to advance and grow in six months to stage IV metastatic disease which caused the decedent’s untimely death. Plaintiff claimed gross hematuria in an adult is bladder cancer until proven otherwise, which requires an immediate cystoscopy. It was further contended that the defendant doctor used a rigid as opposed to a flexible scope and never reached the bladder diverticulum where the cancer was located. It was further alleged that the defendant doctor never ordered any further tests or made any other referrals to explain the fact that the 4 cm mass existed on CT scans prior to the cystoscopy. It was further alleged that had the cystoscopy been performed in Dec. 2004, the mass would have been a 1 cm lesion, able to be surgically excised and had the cancer not gone through the wall of the bladder diverticulum, chemo and radiation therapy would have been avoided, and the decedent would have had a chance of being cured. Defendant contended that there was no cancer able to be seen in Dec. 2004. That the cancer grew very aggressively after Jan. 2005 and that the cancer grew outward of the bladder wall and not into the bladder diverticulum.