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9-year old female failed to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer

Type of Injury: Cancer
Type of Case: Failure to Diagnose
Settlement Amount: $250,000.00

(Failure to Diagnose Thyroid Cancer – Pathology). F-9 first presented at Norwegian American Hospital for evaluation of a right neck mass. On August 18, 1997, Dr. Raphael Camanini, then-Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Norwegian American Hospital, misdiagnosed papillary thyroid carcinoma as ectopic thyroid tissue, and in categorizing it as benign, when it demonstrated papillary architecture, malignant cytologic features, cystic degeneration and psammomatous microcalcifications.

In late 1999, Plaintiff presented to Children’s Memorial Hospital for the right neck mass that had persisted and for changes in her voice. On November 2, 1999, Dr. Paula Kovarik (pathologist in the Department of Pathology at Children’s Memorial Hospital) reviewed the 1997 “right neck mass” pathologic slides that Dr. Campanini had previously reviewed. The final diagnosis was “well- differentiated papillary carcinoma.” Dr. Kovarik also showed the slides to Dr. Pauline Chou (Head, Anatomic Pathology, Children’s Memorial Hospital) and G. Kenneth Haines III, M.D. (Northwestern Memorial Hospital). Both doctors concurred with Dr. Kovarik’s findings and diagnosis.

On December 13, 1999, Plaintiff underwent “total thyroidectomy and bilateral functional neck dissections and right modified neck dissection”, by Dr. John Maddalozzo. In the Record of Operation, Dr. Maddalozzo described “gross involvement” of the recurrent laryngeal nerve by tumor; the laryngeal nerve was dissected off of tumor, and a large lymph node medial to the recurrent nerve at its insertion in the cricothyroid membrane was dissected off the airway. He described “profuse adenopathy” in the neck that made identification of the parathyroid glands difficult.

Thereafter, Plaintiff underwent radioactive iodine ablation treatment for her metastatic thyroid carcinoma during her March 2000 admission to Children’s Memorial Hospital. A scan following her thyroidectomny and neck dissection and prior to radioiodine treatment had shown “extensive lung and neck uptake.” In February, 2002, she was readmitted for repeat radioactive iodine treatment.

Plaintiff’s expert, Melissa P. Upton, MD (pathologist) of the University of Washington Medical Center, contended that the standard of care was breached in Dr. Campanini’s failure to obtain an immediate second opinion from another pathologist after including thyroid cancer in the differential diagnosis following his intraoperative pathological frozen section examination. Further, according to plaintiff’s other expert, R. Michael Tuttle, MD (endocrinologist) of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Campanini’s failure to timely and properly diagnose lessened the opportunity for early treatment and the effectiveness of subsequent treatment, as well as Dr. Campanini’s failure to properly diagnose Plaintiff’s condition resulted in a more extensive surgery in December 1999.

Defendant Rafael Campanini, MD’s expert, Michael Kaufman, MD (pathologist), contended that the standard of care was not breached. Further, the standard of care required only that pathologist conduct a careful examination of the tissues and a best-effort determination whether the tissue abnormalities were benign hyperplasia or malignancy, considering the age of the patient and all of the pathologist’s training and experience.

Defendant Norwegian American Hospital’s expert, Glen Sizemore, MD (endocrinologist), contended that any alleged “delay” in the diagnosis of carcinoma in Plaintiff did not cause or contribute to a worsening of her condition or prognosis.

Injuries: Due to the alleged medical negligence of the defendants, Plaintiff sought compensation for physical and emotional pain.

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

What Each Defendant Paid: Rafael Campanini, MD ($150,000). Norwegian American Hospital, Inc. ($90,000).

Insurance Company: [Confidential insurance company] insured Rafael Campanini, MD. Chicago Hospital Risk Pooling Program (CHRPP) insured Norwegian American Hospital, Inc.

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