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Westchester Jury Clears Urologist Of Failure To Diagnose Kidney Cancer And Wrongful Death

The 62 year-old plaintiff and her husband brought suit against her urologist who had begun treating her in 1995 for a neurogenic bladder, a condition related to her multiple sclerosis. During that time, the urologist taught his patient how to self-catheterize to enable her to void. The patient was also treated for recurrent urinary tract infections, which were attributed to her neurogenic bladder and daily self-catheterization. Plaintiff was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma by another urologist in January 2010, within 2 weeks after leaving the defendant's care. The patient had sought treatment from a different urologist after she developed gross hematuria and flank pain. Plaintiff underwent a left nephrectomy, developed metastatic lung cancer and passed away in May 2012.

Plaintiffs alleged that the defendant urologist was negligent in failing to obtain any imaging study of the kidneys during the time he cared for her. Plaintiffs' expert contended that the standard of care required that a baseline imaging study and subsequent imaging studies be obtained in view of the patient's recurrent urinary tract infections and occasional microscopic hematuria. Defendant conceded that an imaging study performed within 2-3 years of the diagnosis would have revealed the tumor (which was 8 x 9 x 10 cm at diagnosis in January 2010), but contended that imaging studies were not required by the standard of care under this particular patient's circumstances. Defendant pointed to the patient's large, compliant bladder, absence of high voiding pressures, successful self-catheterization and absence of upper urinary tract infections in defense of his "failure" to obtain imaging of the kidneys. Plaintiffs also contended that the defendant failed to perform adequate physical examinations and that the tumor would have been palpable on an appropriate examination. The jury of 4 females and 2 males returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendant.

Categories: Defense Verdict
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