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Rectal Cancer Timeline Proves Claim of Medical Malpractice

A VA-contracted physician was presented with a veteran suffering symptoms of colon cancer, including persistent rectal bleeding and abdominal pain. Instead of examining him properly or referring the man for a colonoscopy, the physician diagnosed the man with hemorrhoids. He returned two months later due to ongoing symptoms and demanded a colonoscopy referral, but the physician refused again. The man had no choice but to switch medical providers. He was finally seen eight months later by a gastroenterologist. Unfortunately, so much time had passed that he was diagnosed with stage-four rectal cancer and later succumbed to his disease. Dan Luginbill and Julia Flumian of McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC represented the man’s wife against the physician and her clinic. They secured a multimillion-dollar settlement using a medical timeline outlining the Defendant's malpractice.

Once he was finally diagnosed, the man underwent chemotherapy, but the cancer had already spread to his lung and liver. He and his wife sought an attorney to help determine if malpractice had occurred. Their initial attorney filed their claim, collected evidence, and deposed the man to record his testimony. Then, he filed a federal declaratory judgment and referred the case to Dan Luginbill and Julia Flumian.

Due to their client’s death, Dan and Julia needed to rely on expert testimony to demonstrate what happened and to determine causation. The two retained an oncologist, a primary care physician, and an internist. The oncologist testified that there were multiple instances where the physician could have ordered the man a colonoscopy, which would have prevented the cancer from spreading.

Dan and Julia attended mediation with the Defense. The mediator met with both parties separately towards the end of the meeting, attempting to come to a fair resolution. However, the Defendants made an offer so low, the mediator would not disclose it to Dan and Julia. Eventually, the Defense brought a seven-figure settlement to the table, but Dan and Julia declined. The two prepared their experts for trial but anticipated a jury would find it difficult to grasp the case’s nuances without a visual. As a result, they reached out to DK Global to collaborate with them and their doctors to animate a medical timeline that outlined their evidence and expert testimony.

The animation began with a look at the Plaintiff’s early stage-one cancer in his colon. Then, the events when medical intervention would have increased the man’s likelihood of survival were outlined in the timeline and color-coded green, yellow, and red. The man was seen by the Defendant two months after his first emergency room visit. Sadly, no action was taken, causing his cancer to progress. He was finally ordered a colonoscopy more than a year after his initial examination. The oncologist discovered his cancer progressed to stage four, requiring a colostomy procedure. Tragically, it was too late – cancer had spread to his vital organs.

With trial approaching, Dan and Julia shared the presentation with the judge and the Defense. They stated their expert would play the animation for the jurors and explain the Defendant’s negligence. The Defense scheduled a mediation eight days before trial, resulting in a settlement four times higher than the initial seven-figure offer.

For over 20 years, Dan Luginbill of McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, one of South Carolina's most successful plaintiffs’ firms, has represented those involved in medical malpractice and personal injury matters. Recently selected as a “Super Lawyer,” Dan has tried dozens of personal injury trials to verdict, earning himself recognition as one of the top-rated attorneys in the nation.

Since 2008, Julia Marie Flumian of McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC has specialized in several areas of law including personal injury, medical malpractice, and estate and trust litigation. A member of the South Carolina Association for Justice and the Charleston County Bar, Julia brings a passion for obtaining justice for her clients.

"It is unquestionable that having the animation made them [the Defense] decide not to try the case."
Daniel W. Luginbill - McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC
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