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  1. #1
    lotsakids_8 is offline Junior Member
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    Medical Malpractice? Wrongful Death

    undefinedWhat is the name of your state?Missouri

    Well I will try this one more time:

    I am writing this post in regards to my mother. My mother was very proactive with her health and had a clean bill of health in December of 03, She also had gone to a health fair and had routine blood tests which came back within normal parameters in Jan. of 04. She went to the Doctor and was seen by a nurse practitioner and the local clinic in her area in April due to stomach pains and constipation. The practitioner told her it was her gallbladder and gave her a prescription of Stomach spasm pills and some suppositories for her constipation (which she has never before suffered from). She returned in June and had severe stomach pain. She seen the Dr this time and he had xrays taken. On the xrays there was a blockage shown to my mother and father (this xray has since disappeared) and the doc stated that again it was her gallbladder to change her diet eat no fatty foods and drink only clear liquids and gave her a years prescription of stomach spasm pills. My mother followed his advise and then My father and her took a vacationto New Mexico at he end of August. While there my mother began having difficulty breathing and became sick. THey rushed back the weekend of Labor day and called the doctor. His advice to her was to rest take the stomach pills and if she got any worse just go to the hospital an hour away and just have her gallbladder removed. My parents waited till the day after labor day to go to the hospital due to them thinking that it would not be so crowded. They waited in the emergency room for six hours before being seen. The er did a routine ultra sound on my mother and discovered that her liver was covered in lesions. Subsequently my mother was admitted and many many tests were done to no avail. The drs thier stated that she had cancer but did not know what kind. My father and I worked and got her transferred to Ellis Fischel in Columbia Missouri ( a hospital that speacilizes in cancer only) where my mother was treated well. They identified that she had an unknown primary cancer and that she was terminal and set her up on hospice care to go home the following day. My mother died on September 19th. There were 12 days to absorb sick to terminal to dead. My question is Why did the dr not run any routine tests? My mother was 64 years old and in relative good health. The cancer doctor stated that with the fast moving cancers the good thing is that if found early they were easy to kill. I truly feel that the Doctors office my mother was seen at was negligent in not trying harder to find any answers any other office runs tests even when unnecessary just to rule out what it could be rather than just guess that it is a gallbladder problem which by the way thier was nothing wrong with her gallbladder. I am so traumatized by this that it is hard to get all the information out so bear with me please. My father go all the medical records and come to find out the xrays had not even been read until Oct. 26th of this year my mom was dead before they had even been read. In those documents it stated there was an unknown mass. (again this xray was not included in the records my father received). My father has contacted an attourney in his area that required 40% of any case. The lawyer stated to him that it would be hard to prove and that the settlement would only be around 300,000 therefore he would not take the case?????!!!! I am again amazed by this but my question to you is: Is the clinic liable in her death? I know in my heart that my mother would still be here if they had just performed some simple tests on her. I am no doctor but a layperson looking back on a very sad situation and of course I may just be to angry to think things through. I have never sued anyone but in my heart feel that the negligence of the doctors office she had gone to took away what life she may have had. Pleas advise on what recourse may be available to my father, my brother and I.

    Thank you
    Kim
  2. #2
    howamidoing is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotsakids_8
    undefinedWhat is the name of your state?Missouri

    Well I will try this one more time:

    I am writing this post in regards to my mother. My mother was very proactive with her health and had a clean bill of health in December of 03, She also had gone to a health fair and had routine blood tests which came back within normal parameters in Jan. of 04. She went to the Doctor and was seen by a nurse practitioner and the local clinic in her area in April due to stomach pains and constipation. The practitioner told her it was her gallbladder and gave her a prescription of Stomach spasm pills and some suppositories for her constipation (which she has never before suffered from). She returned in June and had severe stomach pain. She seen the Dr this time and he had xrays taken. On the xrays there was a blockage shown to my mother and father (this xray has since disappeared) and the doc stated that again it was her gallbladder to change her diet eat no fatty foods and drink only clear liquids and gave her a years prescription of stomach spasm pills. My mother followed his advise and then My father and her took a vacationto New Mexico at he end of August. While there my mother began having difficulty breathing and became sick. THey rushed back the weekend of Labor day and called the doctor. His advice to her was to rest take the stomach pills and if she got any worse just go to the hospital an hour away and just have her gallbladder removed. My parents waited till the day after labor day to go to the hospital due to them thinking that it would not be so crowded. They waited in the emergency room for six hours before being seen. The er did a routine ultra sound on my mother and discovered that her liver was covered in lesions. Subsequently my mother was admitted and many many tests were done to no avail. The drs thier stated that she had cancer but did not know what kind. My father and I worked and got her transferred to Ellis Fischel in Columbia Missouri ( a hospital that speacilizes in cancer only) where my mother was treated well. They identified that she had an unknown primary cancer and that she was terminal and set her up on hospice care to go home the following day. My mother died on September 19th. There were 12 days to absorb sick to terminal to dead. My question is Why did the dr not run any routine tests? My mother was 64 years old and in relative good health. The cancer doctor stated that with the fast moving cancers the good thing is that if found early they were easy to kill. I truly feel that the Doctors office my mother was seen at was negligent in not trying harder to find any answers any other office runs tests even when unnecessary just to rule out what it could be rather than just guess that it is a gallbladder problem which by the way thier was nothing wrong with her gallbladder. I am so traumatized by this that it is hard to get all the information out so bear with me please. My father go all the medical records and come to find out the xrays had not even been read until Oct. 26th of this year my mom was dead before they had even been read. In those documents it stated there was an unknown mass. (again this xray was not included in the records my father received). My father has contacted an attourney in his area that required 40% of any case. The lawyer stated to him that it would be hard to prove and that the settlement would only be around 300,000 therefore he would not take the case?????!!!! I am again amazed by this but my question to you is: Is the clinic liable in her death? I know in my heart that my mother would still be here if they had just performed some simple tests on her. I am no doctor but a layperson looking back on a very sad situation and of course I may just be to angry to think things through. I have never sued anyone but in my heart feel that the negligence of the doctors office she had gone to took away what life she may have had. Pleas advise on what recourse may be available to my father, my brother and I.

    Thank you
    Kim
    This wasnt by chance in Branson, Missouri was it?
  3. #3
    lotsakids_8 is offline Junior Member
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    Branson

    no my mother was treated by a doctor in Mountain Grove Missouri and then subsequently hospitalized at St. Johns Hospital in Springfield Missouri
  4. #4
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    I'm sorry for your loss.

    I also know you believe your mother was proactive with her health, but that doesn't mean that was appropriate for her individual health needs or that there are not factors that may have contributed increasing her risks, such as some genitic factors.

    I know it is difficult to comprehend everything that has happened and that you truely believe the clinic is the cause of your mother's death, but you have already consulted an attorney who has given you their opinion based on more information that you can possibly give here. 40% is a common contingency fee for case and even though $300,000 sounds like a lot of money, not enough to replace your mother but one would certainly think enough to cause an attorney to take a case but that 40% may not cover their cost, these cases can be very expensive. So that was his call based on what you brought in and you may consult another attorney they may be willing to take the case.

    Before you do that, understand that when you request medical records, they will produce certain items, some you will have to specifically request, others may not be released because they are not original to the chart. My suggestion in to have someone go in and do an inhouse review of the records at the clinic, get copies of everything and compare that to what was sent before, also specifically request a copy of the Xray otherwise you will only get a report, it is not necessarly lost, then it may be read independently by another radiologist to determine if there was evidence of cancer when the Xray was taken. It is also possible that there was an initial "read" by the radiologist within hours of the Xray and a report issued at a later date, although more than a year later is unusual, but if you do the inhouse review you may come across clues as to what happened. I have had similar things happen myself with CT scan, ECG and EEG being read later, but each except for the EEG had an initial "READ" and a later report issued, in fact, one had an amended report.

    Also understand that some forms of cancer are "silent but deadly" in otherwords, they may exist undetected until it is too late to fight them and they may progress very rapidly.

    I can see several areas of concern, first if your mother was proactive about her health that she did not request a referal to a GI doctor if these were symptoms were unusual, troubling and not resolved by treatment. Also the fact that the cancer was not identified, even by the cancer center. Was there an autopsy, if so what were the results? Without that information it would be difficult to assign fault especially since she was well enough to travel on a vacation only one month before and while ill enough to return form the vacation failed to go to an ER while in NM. While she complained, many people feel guilty for complaining or for becomming ill even though they are trying to be healthy and may under report their symptom, also symptoms may be dismissed or commonly reported and treated first without extensive testing once other possibilities are ruled out. Are there any family histories of any health problems, especially GI or lung problems?

    Once you have more information, you may have a better case or at least some resolution to your questions. If you find significant new evidence perhaps then you may find an attorney who will take your case. If there is evidence of fault but not enough to warrent a lawsuit, you may still make a complaint to the state medical board and/or licensing organizations for the clinic who will investigate.

    If your mother was treated at a clinic in Mtn. Grove, why didn't she go to the hospital ER over in Houston, that is much closer?
    Last edited by rmet4nzkx; 12-17-2004 at 09:07 AM.
  5. #5
    lotsakids_8 is offline Junior Member
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    From what I understand the xray was never sent to a radiologist until my father requested the records. No autopsy was done. My mother was like edith to archie she never would know to ask for extensive tests. My mother visited me prior to the vacation and I told her that something was wrong and that she should see another doctor that my husband suffers from gall bladder trouble and her symptoms were not the same also I had noticed that her legs and arms were skinny something that was not like her. there was no history in the family of cancer. only heart conditions and rheumatizm. The hospital in Houston is very small also the clinic that my mother went to was affiliated with St. Johns hospital. My dad and mom did not go to the emergency room in New Mexico because I believe they did not know the severity of my moms illness at the time they are depression era and I beleive just wanted to do what thier attending told them to do. I realize this seems unusual but I guess you could chalk it up to just not knowing really what they could have done or should have done ignorance of course is no excuse but relying on what the doctor told them is what they did. I will work on filing a complaint to the medical board. From what I understand this is not the first time this doctor has been sued for negligence. The attourney my father spoke with stated he had sued the doctor before in a case involving a child who is now disabled due to no tests being performed as well. I am not money hungry by no means but want this clinic to be held accountable and perhaps no one else will die unnecessarily. Thank you for replying so quickly. As I have said I am just trying to sort out what needs to be done if anything at all. Also the cancer speacialist stated that 25% of cancer patients have the diagnosis of unknown primary cancer meaning that they cannot find where the cancer originated we do know it was not liver cancer it could possibly have been intestinal or pancreatic but again I do not know as do they.
    Last edited by lotsakids_8; 12-17-2004 at 09:51 AM.
  6. #6
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotsakids_8
    From what I understand the xray was never sent to a radiologist until my father requested the records. No autopsy was done. My mother was like edith to archie she never would know to ask for extensive tests. My mother visited me prior to the vacation and I told her that something was wrong and that she should see another doctor that my husband suffers from gall bladder trouble and her symptoms were not the same also I had noticed that her legs and arms were skinny something that was not like her. there was no history in the family of cancer. only heart conditions and rheumatizm. The hospital in Houston is very small also the clinic that my mother went to was affiliated with St. Johns hospital. My dad and mom did not go to the emergency room in New Mexico because I believe they did not know the severity of my moms illness at the time they are depression era and I beleive just wanted to do what thier attending told them to do. I realize this seems unusual but I guess you could chalk it up to just not knowing really what they could have done or should have done ignorance of course is no excuse but relying on what the doctor told them is what they did. I will work on filing a complaint to the medical board. From what I understand this is not the first time this doctor has been sued for negligence. The attourney my father spoke with stated he had sued the doctor before in a case involving a child who is now disabled due to no tests being performed as well. I am not money hungry by no means but want this clinic to be held accountable and perhaps no one else will die unnecessarily. Thank you for replying so quickly. As I have said I am just trying to sort out what needs to be done if anything at all. Also the cancer speacialist stated that 25% of cancer patients have the diagnosis of unknown primary cancer meaning that they cannot find where the cancer originated we do know it was not liver cancer it could possibly have been intestinal or pancreatic but again I do not know as do they.
    Yes access to state of the art medical care in Southern MO can leave much to be desired simply because it is so rural, however, TCMC 25 mi from Mtn. Grove is the regional medical center and would have the logical place to send your mom to the ER or even for a second opinion, rather than sending her over 80 miles away to Springfield even though it was associated with the clinic, travel time plus the 6 hour wait, may have even delayed your mother seeking more medical care simply because of the long drive involved. It is also true about depression era patients.

    You may have a case, I think once you get a copy of the actual Xray that may make a difference, but with no autopsy it will be a very hard fight and going to the medical board may be the best bet to see that this doesn't happen to anyone else. They can do a thorough investigation without you bearing the cost of experts. One problem in that area is keeping physicians because there is such a small population.

    Both Liver and pancreatic cancer are silent but deadly cancers and very similar symptoms as well, was there any mention of state of both organs in the Xray?
    Last edited by rmet4nzkx; 12-17-2004 at 10:35 AM.
  7. #7
    lotsakids_8 is offline Junior Member
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    Angry xrays

    I agree, the xray that was not read until after my mothers death stated abnormal hardening (not where) and unidentified mass. The xrays by the way were taken in April. My father also stated that the medical records now(changed?) do not even have any mention of a diagnosis of gall bladder trouble/stones nor to they mention any changes in diet. It seems strange to me that suddenly the only information in her records reads gastroenteritis? I guess what makes me really upset is that it seems there is being a quick coverup from the doctors office. My father did not get the copy of my mothers records until three weeks after requesting them, and that only because he kept calling them asking he even left a fax number if they just wanted to do it that way. Yes I am aware that pancreatic cancer is quick and silent but can't help thinking that if they would have just run simple tests something could have come back for us to proceed upon. I know it sounds as though I am beating a dead horse but it all comes back to my belief that more should have been done prior to her hospitalization. They (the cancer speacilists) stated that it was not liver cancer. Before she left the hospital they drained 5 liters of fluid off of her to help her breath easier. Once this was done you could physically see the tumor just below her diaphram it was very large. but again we do not have the diagnosis of what kind.

    Thanks
  8. #8
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    I checked St. Johns Clinic in Mtn. Grove, there are 4 physicians listed and checked their record at the medical board, none show any record of dicipline. Was your mother on a St. Johns medical plan or using St. John's clinic bcause it was nearby? Was she on medicare? There may be some options for complaint. Medical records may use different language than what is explained to patient. Once you actually get a copy of the Xray have it reviewed by the cancer center for their opinion as to what the "mass" is and where. I checked and Wright county/44th circuit is not online so cannot search for cases against either the physician or the clinic, you will have to call the courthouse and arrange for search if you wish to confirm how many cases filed against the doctors or the clinic. You may go to and search for lawsuits against the Mercy St. Johns system. [url]http://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/welcome.do[/url]
    I hope this helps
  9. #9
    lotsakids_8 is offline Junior Member
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    The Doctors name is Horning and the nurse practitioner's name is Raymond Bruno. She went to the clinic because it was near her home in Norwood
  10. #10
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    It is not appropriate to post the actual names of physicians and hospitals with location. I don't believe it is appropriate to investigate the records of these physicians and post findings, either. Unless you are a paid member of the national data resource for physican and facility performance, you are probably not retrieving complete information anyway.

    As for the original poster's scenario/questions, in order for there to be a meritorious claim of negligence, it would have to be proven that the outcome would have been different, that diagnosing and treating the cancer would have prevented the mother's death for several years. With this type of cancer, that isn't going to happen.

    It is not unusual for cancers of this type to remain hidden from view in test after test. Only when the progression of the cancer reaches morbid proportions does it present on film or in symptomology.

    I have never heard of a fast growing cancer involving major organs such as the liver to be a cancer that responds with remission with early treatment much less is curable if treated early. I believe the OP heard what she wanted to hear and not what was actually said.

    I do not think a medical expert or an expert RN Practioner will testify that any symptoms or clinical findings were negligently managed. I believe that the experts will not be surprised by the events, the progression, or the outcome.

    If there is a viable claim of medical malpractice and the OP thinks $300,000 is not an adequate award, then there is no need to pursue the claim. This is not a million dollar claim. Mom was not healthy, she had hidden terminal cancer. Mom did not have her life cut short by negligence; her life was cut short by cancer. Having seen numerous patients live through the chronic form of this cancer, I believe the mother was granted a huge blessing.

    Because wrongful death claims generally have a shorter statute of limitations that other forms of medical malpractice, the OP should consult with another medmal attorney so that in the event the family decides to pursue this, the statute of limitations can be protected.

    The OP needs to be aware that the physician and the nurse practioner will be defended not only by medical and nursing experts but by medical data that has been collected for over 20 years.

    I know her sudden death did not give her survivors time to accept her diagnosis and to begin to accept the inevitable. This grief process may require counseling for the family members and, or talking with others who have lost loved ones to cancer.

    EC
  11. #11
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you for the additional information, however, I wasn't asking for the names of the physician or nurse but was providing you with information on how to research in order to pursue complaints and or seeking additional legal counsel. It was the attorney OP consulted that refused to take the case he valued at $300,000 not OP, another attorney might take the case and suggested additional information that might help them make that determination, if they so chose. Having the actual Xray evaluated might yeild information as to whether or not there was misdiagnosis.

    There was nothing wrong with investigation of the information that is public record or informing OP that if they do a search on case.net in Missouri that the suits referred to by the attorney she consulted won't show up because Wright Co is not online, so one might wrongly assume based upon a search on that system, one would have to go to the courthouse to research it. One should never assume that what they find online is all there may be or that other organizations may be privy to more. Cases of discipline may show up only after the case is settled and appeals complete, years after the complaint filed as opposed to law suits which may show up online if the specific court has online access.

    Did the attorney OP consulted comment on the doctors other suits based on personal knowledge or research at the court house? Although it is unlikely that the ultimate outcome would have been different and indeed a blessing not to know for months in advance or under go debilitating treatment which may have been worse than the natural course of the disease, there may be a pattern of care that was a significant deviation in the standard of care and contributed to the patients rapid demise once diagnosed. Also the community SOC is going to be different in a community just over 4,000 than in a larger community like Springfield, Kansas City or St. Louis, that is going to be a major factor in either lawsuit or administrative complaint.

    Since patient was not a plan member, there was no requirement for her to have traveled over 80 miles to attend the ER when the regional medical center was 25 miles away, along the way to Springfield! Since she was not a plan member she could have received a second opinion or care elsewhere when patient was not getting better and wasting away. Not knowing what the primary cancer was and no autopsy will always leave lingering doubts.

    OP's main concern is that this not happen to others and plans on making complaints to the medical board, they may have additional options insofar as complaints, malpractice may be costly to prove given the prognosis with this form of cancer, however deviations from the SOC may be more easily proved. Small rural communities have a disadvantage when it comes to access to medical care.
  12. #12
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
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    This site has always requested that personal names (includes hospitals) not be posted; I agree with the request.

    This poster's complaints are in the same category as the poster's whose mother died of diabetic complications. This poster's mother's medical/healthcare management may be riddled with things that could have or should have been done differently but it remains that the outcome would not have been different and because of that fact alone, it will be virtually impossible to prove that any act by any healthcare provider resulted in the mother's death within a timeframe that differs from the expected timeframe. Thus, it will be virtually impossible for there to be a meritorious claim of malpractice by any healthcare provider.

    This type of cancer is often diagnosed at the time of surgery to remove the gallbladder. Once the surgeon visualizes the internal organs, the cancer involving the liver and other organs is found to be fast growing, multi-organ invasive, and terminal within six months without treatment, terminal within six months to two years with treatment, and with most patients succumbing to the disease within six months to one year inspite of treatment.

    Where the emergency room is or why the patient chose which ER, or what the insurance plan has to say is totally not relevant to whether or not a medmal claim exist. Whether or not any of these healthcare providers have had previous complaints or liabilities against them is also not relevant as to whether or not this poster has a viable claim of malpractice.

    The only issue that is relevant is whether or not the management of this poster's mother's symptoms fell below the minimum standard of care and as a result of such negligence the mother died when otherwise she would have received treatment and be alive today. Because this type of cancer is often diagnosed as gallbladder disease and is often managed in the same manner as was this poster's mother and because the outcome is more often than not the very same outcome as in this poster's situation, there is very little chance that a medical malpractice claim exists.

    The only way the additional information is relevant is if there is a valid claim of malpractice and the providers have been found 'guilty' of the same type of negligence in the past. Then, the punitive damages would be affected by the additional information. Until such time as a valid claim of malpractice is determined by the medical and nursing experts, the rest of the information is useless.

    EC

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