Rectal Cancer: Misread Barium Enema Delay in Diagnosis – Wrongful Death

Jeffrey Hugh Dover

Practice Area:Medical Malpractice

Outcome:The case was settled before trial.

Description:The decedent was a 56-year-old male who complained to his family doctor of rectal bleeding. He was referred to the defendant radiologist who performed a barium enema which was read as normal. The decedent continued to complain of rectal bleeding. Sixteen months after the barium enema he was referred by his family doctor to a gastroenterologist, who performed a colonoscopy. A large 4 centimeter lesion was found 4.5 cm above the anal verge. Subsequent staging revealed Stage IV adenocarcinoma of the rectum with metastases to the liver. The decedent contacted our firm and the barium enema was reviewed by an expert radiologist. He found a large filling defect suspicious for cancer in the area where the cancer was found during colonoscopy. The decedent sued the defendant radiologist for failure to diagnose his cancer and loss of chance of a cure. Unfortunately, our client soon passed and his surviving family filed a wrongful death claim.