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53-year old female dies from cancer after physician failed to timely convey a diagnosis of cancer (leiomyosarcoma)

Type of Injury: Death
Type of Case: Settlement
Settlement Amount: $250,000.00

In 2006, Dr. Edouard Coupet was employed by his company, Sante Incorporated d/b/a La Santé Obstetrics & Gynecology, as a gynecologist in Dolton, Illinois. On March 14, 2006, F-53 was admitted to St. Francis Hospital under the care of Dr. Coupet for the purpose of undergoing a hysterectomy for uterine leiomyomata (fibroid). Her surgery (total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) was on March 14th. She was discharged from the hospital on March 17th with no problems. On March 17, 2006, following her discharge, a Surgical Pathology Report, which was prepared by Dr. Mohamad Alsabban of Blue Island Pathology, Ltd., diagnosed Plaintiff with “Subserosal Leiomyosarcoma, Well Differentiated. Uterine Leiomyomas.”

On June 17, 2006, Plaintiff presented to the emergency department of St. Francis Hospital with complaints of abdominal pain and distension. Plaintiff gave a past history of uterine fibroids and a hysterectomy in March 2006. On June 18, 2006, Plaintiff was admitted from the emergency room to St. Francis Hospital with an admitting diagnosis of abdominal pain and abdominopelvic mass with hydronephronsis. According to Dr. Frederick’s June 18th admitting note: “The patient had a history of hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in March 2006 for uterine fibroids. A uterine leiomyosarcoma was seen at that time in the pathology report. The patient was not aware of this and was followed.”

On June 20, 2006, Plaintiff was transferred to Rush University Medical Center (“RUMC”) to be treated by Dr. Jacob Rotmensch. According to Dr. Rotmensch’s discharge summary, Plaintiff “stated that she was not aware of the diagnosis.” Plaintiff was admitted with a diagnosis of history of leiomyosarcoma with newly diagnosed pelvic mass with right hydrophronsis. A CT scan revealed a 15-cm x 12 –cm heterogeneous pelvic mass and right-sided hydronephronsis with moderate dilation of the renal pelvis and right ureter and moderate lift-sided hydronephronsis. She was discharged on June 23rd.

Thereafter, Plaintiff underwent chemotherapy for unknown stage leiomyosarcoma initially that included carboplatin and Taxol x1. A second cycle of that chemotherapy was done secondary to developing ventricular tachycardia. She was subsequently placed on Gemzar and Taxotere in August 2006 and then Gemzar alone in September 2006. The cancer developed pulmonary metastases. Plaintiff died on October 22, 2006 at the Seasons Hospice at Holy Cross.

Dr. Coupet contends that he told Plaintiff about her diagnosis of cancer on March 22 and June 19, 2006. Dr. Coupet stated that he referred her to Dr. Rotmensch and advised her to pick up her pathology slides at St. Francis to take to Dr. Rotmensch.

Plaintiff contends that Dr. Coupet never conveyed a pathology diagnoses to Plaintiff. Further, based on plaintiff’s expert’s testimony, Dr. Coupet altered Plaintiff’s medical records regarding his referral to Dr. Rotmensch. The medical management company for Plaintiff’s insurance company has no record of the referral form that Dr. Coupet said he personally faxed to them regarding Dr. Rotmensch.

Injuries: Due to the alleged medical negligence of the defendants, Plaintiff did not begin a medical course for her cancer at the earliest opportunity, which, in turn, lessened the likelihood of that care’s effectiveness. Plaintiff died on October 22, 2006. Plaintiff contends that earlier intervention and treatment of the cancer would have prolonged Plaintiff’s life.

Defendant contended that Plaintiff ignored Dr. Coupet’s advise and referral. However, earlier intervention (March/April 2006) would not have made a difference in the outcome of this aggressive cancer.

Specials: Medicals: N/A Lost Income: N/A Occupation: N/A

What Each Defendant Paid: Edouard Coupet, MD ($250,000)

Insurance Company: ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company (ISMIE) insured Edouard Coupet, MD

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