In early 2010, Laverne Wilkinson went to the emergency room after experiencing chest pain while cleaning her apartment. She feared that she was having a heart attack. Doctors ordered an EKG and chest X-ray and told her that all the tests were normal, giving her a clean bill of health. The doctors were wrong. There was something very serious wrong.
The chest X-ray that was taken actually showed a suspicious 2-centimether nodule on her right lung. It was recommended in the radiologist’s written report that Wilkinson have a follow-up X-ray in three months. She never received this information.
Over the next two years Wilkinson went to clinic appointments and to her primary care doctor. She complained of a chronic cough but nobody informed her to have another chest X-ray done. Two years later in 2012, she returned to the emergency room wheezing and short of breath. A new chest X-ray was taken. This X-ray showed the nodule that Wilkinson was not informed of two years previous was cancerous and that it had doubled in size and spread from her right lung to her left. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer which had metastasized to her liver, spine, and brain.
Wilkinson had had asthma for a long time and doctors mistakenly believed that her ailments were caused by that. They offered her cough medicines, inhalers, and steroids while unknown to her and the doctors the lung cancer spread. Her primary care doctor never ordered another chest X-ray or pulmonary function test to determine what was causing her difficult breathing.
When doctors discovered and told her she had terminal metastatic lung cancer Wilkinson was shocked. What was worse though was when she was told she probably could have been cured. Lung cancer in patients who do not smoke with the size of the cancer in their lung as Wilkinson had in 2010 have a good chance of being cured with surgery.
It is unclear the number of doctors failed to diagnose her condition. The hospital promised Wilkinson that a review of her case would be done to find ways to improve care and the hospital would inform her of the results. After eight months she has not heard from either the administrators or doctors at Kings County Hospital.
A Notice of Claim has been filed in the first step in a potential lawsuit against the city. The claim is seeking monetary damages for severe injuries and pain and suffering for medical malpractice.
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