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    Transplanted kidney found to be cancerous; patient sues

    Urologist alleges patient was extremely ill, needed urgent transplant


    Claim of failure to diagnose kidney cancer

    A 62-year-old New York woman learned in 2010 that she had a large Stage III cancerous tumor on her left kidney. She underwent a nephrectomy, but the cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes and was later found in one of her lungs.

    The woman experienced recurrent infections of her urinary tract and had long-standing neurogenic incontinence of her bladder. Those conditions were managed by her urologist over a 10-year period, in which she had 75 examinations. The patient’s cancer was discovered after she transferred care to another urologist.

    Read: Circumcision requiring revision surgery prompts lawsuit

    She sued her original urologist, claiming her cancer should have been diagnosed in 2007; she also claimed that timely treatment would have prevented the cancer’s spread. She died after the lawsuit was filed and her husband continued the suit on her behalf. It was alleged that the patient’s incontinence and recurrent infections should have prompted biannual imaging of her kidney, and such imaging would have allowed the cancer diagnosis to be made earlier.

    The urologist argued that the patient’s symptoms did not require imaging studies over the previous 10-year period, and he claimed that after the patient’s UTI in 2010 he planned to use imaging after the administration of an antibiotic, but the patient abandoned his treatment. 

    He also claimed the patient’s frequent infections resulted from her daily self-catheterizations necessary due to incontinence. The jury found in favor of the urologist after deliberating 3½ hours at the conclusion of a 10-day trial.

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    Dawn Collins, JD
    MS COLLINS is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, California. She welcomes feedback on this column via ...


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