Home E-Weekly October 3, 2017

Stage-4 Cancer Patient Awarded $1 Million for OB-GYN's Negligence

Published: October 2, 2017

LAUREN RODGERS, MD A jury found that Dr. Rodgers neglected to discuss the pathologist's findings with her patient and did not offer follow-up treatment.

A verdict by a Maryland jury found that a gynecologist failed to share with her patient a pathologist's warnings that the uterine tumors she discovered during a hysterectomy were potentially malignant.

According to the complaint, Lauren Rodgers, MD, discovered uterine tumors during the 2011 hysterectomy she performed on Roslyn Baxter and sent samples to a pathologist — who described the findings as potentially malignant and recommended close clinical follow-up treatment. Dr. Rodgers, however, neglected to discuss the pathologist's findings with her patient and did not offer follow-up treatment, says the complaint.

Dr. Rodgers denied the claim, pointing to a note from a 2011 meeting that called for a discussion of the pathology findings, but Ms. Baxter maintained that the discussion was never had.

In 2014, Ms. Baxter underwent medical tests and was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer that likely originated in the uterus, as the suit claims, and she currently has stage-4 sarcoma in her lungs. The jury awarded Ms. Baxter $1 million, but as per Maryland's cap on noneconomic damages, the award has been reduced to $695,000.

The award is considered noneconomic because Ms. Baxter was not granted the amount based on past, present or future medical expenses. Experts couldn't provide exact judgment on whether Ms. Baxter's condition would have been prevented or treated differently had Dr. Rodgers offered proper follow-up care, so instead, the award is based on pain, suffering or inconvenience as a result of negligence.

Representing Ms. Baxter in this suit, Michael P. Smith, JD, holds that he and his client are satisfied with the award amount, but he hasn't ruled out the possibility of further action or appeal from the defense. Dr. Rodgers and her attorney, Robert C. Maynard, JD, have 30 days to appeal the decision and try the case again. They also have 10 days to file a motion for a judgment notwithstanding verdict (JNOV) that would let a judge overrule the jury's verdict based on insufficient evidence provided throughout trial. As of now, Mr. Maynard has made no comment on his client's intentions going forward.

Joe Madsen

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