SPBMC Counsel James Wilkens recently obtained a $2.2 million settlement after a client with gastric cancer was improperly diagnosed, leading to a Stage IV progression that has severely reduced her survival outlook.
Mr. Wilkens’ client, a 42-year-old woman named Karen Korszenbojn-Berger, visited the offices of gastroenterologist Peter J. Baiocco, M.D. of Brooklyn, NY, a total of six times. For more than a year prior to these visits, the plaintiff experienced abdominal problems refractory to treatment. Because of this, the plaintiff claimed and the jury accepted that Dr. Baiocco failed to conduct an appropriate differential diagnosis, which, if conducted, would have made it significantly more likely that the client’s gastric cancer would have been discovered and detected while the cancer was still at a Stage I or Stage II. The plaintiff’s cancer has now progressed to a Stage IV, which has reduced her survival outlook from a 90% chance of surviving five or more years to a 25% chance of surviving five or more years.
“Mrs. Korszenbojn-Berger is married with children. Due to the defendant’s failure to conduct an appropriate differential diagnosis, she has been stripped of precious time with her family. Her chances of survival would have been far greater at a Stage I or II, but now her chances of survival and quality of life has been dramatically reduced,” Mr. Wilkens said.
The jury, comprised of four women and two men, deliberated into a second day and sent two notes indicating that they were in the process of determining future damages, at which point the case settled. The defendant agreed to pay $2,200,000 out of the defendant’s policy limits of $2,300,000.
“While our client cannot get back the years lost through this missed diagnosis, she and her family will receive compensation to help her remaining years be as comfortable as possible. Differential diagnoses are critical to help diagnose rare diseases, such as gastric cancer. Doctors have an obligation to their clients to perform differential diagnoses,” said Mr. Wilkens.
You can learn more about James Wilkens and other notable cases he has settled here.