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$1 million-plus wrongful death/Failure to diagnose colon cancer

Our clients were a 48 year old man and his wife. We got an award of more than $1 million.

The case was against a Kitsap County primary care doctor. Our client, a 48-year-old man went to his doctor reporting persistent rectal bleeding. The doctor performed a digital rectal exam, found no active bleeding, and diagnosed “slight internal based hemorrhoids.”

The doctor later performed a sigmoidoscopy—similar to a colonoscopy only more limited. There were two areas in the sigmoid colon that the doctor was unable to visualize due to adhered stool. He found no bleeding and was unable to identify the cause of our client’s earlier bleeding, so he continued to diagnose hemorrhoids.

Fourteen months after the sigmoidoscopy, our client went to Harrison Hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer that had metastasized to the lymph nodes.

We alleged that, given the inadequacy of the sigmoidoscopic exam and the continuing absence of an explanation for our client’s bleeding, a follow-up endoscopy procedure — preferably a colonoscopy, which is more sensitive than sigmoidoscopy — was necessary.