GW Hospital sued for negligence after allegedly missing tumor in CT scan

Media Credit: File Photo by Alexander Welling | Senior Staff Photographer

Patrick Tate alleges that medical providers at the GW Hospital were negligent and failed to diagnose his wife with a cancerous tumor that led to her death in 2019.

The husband of a deceased former patient is suing the GW Hospital, the University and GW Medical Faculty Associates, alleging doctors failed to properly diagnose and treat his wife for cancer in 2018.

In a 17-page lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court Monday, Patrick Tate alleges medical providers were negligent and failed to properly diagnose his wife with a cancerous tumor near the thymus gland, which he said led to her death a year later. Doctors only found one of two existing tumors near Tate’s wife’s thymus in a CT scan in May 2018, and the delay to identify and treat both gave way to her death in June 2019, according to the complaint.

The complaint states the doctors’ negligence worsened her case of myasthenia gravis, or MG – an autoimmune disease that can cause muscle weakness and thymus cancer.

“The decedent was never afforded the care and treatment that, more likely than not, would have led to a complete remission of her MG symptoms and spared her years of untold medical complications, neurological injuries, bodily injuries, disabilities, disfigurement, embarrassment, mental anguish, fear and apprehension of impending death and her untimely death on June 17, 2019,” the complaint reads.

Tate is suing three current or former GW Hospital doctors – Priya Rastogi, Elizabeth Molony Allen and Keith Mortman – in addition to Medstar Health, MedStar Georgetown Medical Center and Robert Laureno, a professor of neurology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Spokespersons for the University, the GW Hospital, the MFA and MedStar did not return a request for comment.

Tate’s attorneys, Jon Stefanuca and H. Briggs Bedigian, did not return a request for comment. Tate could not be reached for comment.

The complaint states that after the CT scan where doctors only detected one of two existing tumors in May 2018, Tate’s wife underwent surgery at the GW Hospital in July to remove a thymoma, or a thymus tumor. Doctors failed to locate the tumor that was present in the earlier CT scan until completing the surgery, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states the aggravation of the tumor that doctors previously missed and the stress of the July surgery intensified Tate’ wife’s MG symptoms and delayed her next surgery for seven months.

“Because of the seven month delay due to the earlier missed diagnosis, the thymoma increased in size and made the second surgery more complicated and more difficult to achieve a successful outcome,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit states after Tate’s wife underwent another surgery in February 2019, she was hospitalized from March to May with worsening MG symptoms and bouts of pneumonia. The lawsuit states she collapsed due to cardiac arrest in June 2019 less than a week after she was discharged.

Tate’s wife died later that month due to respiratory failure and a complete loss of oxygen in the brain after she was transported to the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

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