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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Our winners today are Anne Schiller and Pathology Services. They get the award for the botched biopsy done on skin taken from Paul Vaughn in Virginia. The sample was tested for carcinoma but not malignant melanoma and said to be benign. Less than two years later Mr. Vaughn died of melanoma. Yesterday a Virginia jury handed down a 1.5 million dollar verdict for the Vaughn family.

Colossal medical blundering and a man is dead. Was Schiller incompetent or lazy? It don't matter, she didn't do her job. If justice was complete, she would be out of a job and the medical profession forever. A 1.5 Million dollar jury verdict and the Knucklehead of the day award to Dr. Schiller and Pathology Services will have to suffice.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe, Cao's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Planck's Constant, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

VIRGINIA BEACH - A jury awarded $1.5 million Friday to the family of a man who died after a melanoma, initially confined to his fingernail, was misdiagnosed as nonmalignant.

The lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court against Pathology Sciences Medical Group, which misdiagnosed the cancer on the right middle finger of Paul Vaughan in 2004.

Vaughan died at age 51 on Jan. 31, 2005.

"It was a tragic error with very serious consequences for the family," said Jon Thornton, one of two attorneys who represented the Vaughans.

Vaughan was a well-known surfing instructor in Virginia Beach for years, Thornton said. He and his wife were also environmental activists who helped clean up Lake Rudee and Oak Creek.

The trial took four days, Thornton said. The jury took one hour to return with the award, which is just $200,000 less than the maximum allowed in Virginia in medical malpractice cases.

Thornton said the jury "knew from the evidence that this was entirely preventable. This should not have happened to this family."

Vaughan first noticed a problem in late 2003, when he developed a sore on his finger. He thought it was caused by a splinter he picked up while doing some work around his home in Shadowlawn, Thornton said.

The sore was in the nail bed under the nail, and it eventually split the nail.

After visiting a physician, Vaughan was referred to a hand surgeon, who removed the growth and sent it to Pathology Sciences for analysis.

The growth was tested for one type of cancer - carcinoma - but not for melanoma by pathologist Dr. Anne Schiller, according to court records. The test results were reported to Vaughan as nonmalignant.

When his finger problems persisted, Vaughan was presumed to have developed an infection.

He was treated with antibiotics. Eventually, a second biopsy was taken after Vaughan developed swelling in his elbow and under his arm, Thornton said.

The second analysis revealed a melanoma. By that time, the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and spleen. Vaughan was treated aggressively at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City before he died, Thornton said.

Carolyn Oast, the lawyer who represented the medical group, said defense experts testified that Schiller acted responsibly and that the cancer had spread before the first biopsy was taken.

"There is no doubt that it was a tragic outcome," Oast said.

Vaughan was active in filing the lawsuit before he became too ill to continue, Thornton said.


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