Case Conclusion Date: December 19, 2011
Practice Area: Medical Malpractice
Outcome: $2Million Plaintiff Verdict
Description: In May of 2008, after experiencing what she thought was hemorrhoidal bleeding, Sarah Bargas went to see Ann Blakeley, D.O. at her office, Hemorrhoid Care, P.C. At that first visit Dr. Blakeley performed an anoscopy and diagnosed Sarah with hemorrhoids. She then recommended treatment with an "IRC" machine (infrared coagulation machine) in which a wand of light is applied to the base of a hemorrhoid, without ordering any further testing. Dr. Blakeley saw Sarah four more times in sixteen months with no relief of Sarah's symptoms, each time diagnosing her with hemorrhoids and failing to order further testing. In July, 2009, Sarah finally self-referred to a specialist who found that she had Stage III rectal cancer with positive lymph nodes. What followed for her was a grueling course of radiation and chemotherapy, followed by major surgery, followed by more high-dose chemotherapy. Sarah Bargas was represented by medical malpractice attorneys, Deborah Maliver, M.D., J.D., and Christine Biancheria, Esq. "This was a clear case of medical malpractice," said Dr. Maliver, who, in addition to being an attorney, is a board-certified internal medicine doctor. "As a physician, if you see an adult patient with rectal bleeding, endocopy tests, either a flexible sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy must always be performed. The risk of cancer is too great to not look. Multiple very strict guidelines have been devised by the American Gastroenterology Association, the ASGE, as well as numerous other medical and surgical organizations mandating that all rectal bleeding in and adult be evaluated this way. This case was one in which these strict rules were inexplicably broken, to the detriment of a wonderful young wife and mother." The jury found Dr. Blakeley was negligent. They determined that the delay in diagnosis of cancer made it more likely that Sarah would require extensive, painful therapies for her cancer and that her chance of dying of cancer was increased by Dr. Blakeley's negligent delay. The total award was $2 million. The jury awarded $75,000 for past medical expenses, $1 million eight hundred twenty five thousand for her pain, suffering and mental distress, and Trever Bargas, her husband, was awarded $100,000 for loss of consortium.