Alton hospital sued after delayed cancer diagnosis allegedly led to severe consequences

A lawsuit alleges that medical staff at Alton Memorial Hospital failed to notify a patient that he had cancer for more than two and a half years, during which time the cancer spread throughout his stomach.

Plaintiffs Christopher B. Nicholson and Christine Nicholson filed the lawsuit in the Madison County Circuit Court against Alton Memorial Hospital, Dr. Ahmad A. Karadaghy, Erica Card, NP, Fairview Heights Medical Group, S.C.l, doing business as BJC Medical Group of Illinois, Samuel J. Essma, and Midwest Radiological Associates, P.C., citing medical malpractice.

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Christopher Nicholson presented himself to the Alton Memorial Hospital (AMH) Emergency Department on Aug. 15, 2019, with complaints of urinary frequency, dysuria, dizziness, fever, and weakness. A CT scan showed that Christopher had a large lymph node in the stomach area.

While Christopher was at AMH, he was placed in gastroenterology due to having blood in his stool. A nurse attributed the blood to Chrisopher’s history of ulcerative colitis but noted that there was no colitis on his CT. He was prescribed with medication but allegedly did not mention the large lymph node on the CT scan. The notes from this consultation were allegedly not reviewed or signed by the doctor. Christopher had at least three follow-ups until he was discharged from AMH on Aug. 19, 2019. The lawsuit alleges that at these follow-ups, the defendants made no mention of the large lymph node in Christopher’s stomach and never pointed out the urgency of following up on it due to the risk of cancer. The lawsuit points out that the notes from two of the follow-ups were reviewed and co-signed by the doctor.

On March 16, 2023, nearly two and a half years later, Christopher presented himself to Saint Anthony’s Health Center with complaints of back pain in his left lower back and hip. It was at this hospital visit that Christopher was informed for the first time that he had cancer.

The lawsuit states that due to the two and a half-year delay in informing Christopher that he had cancer, the cancer progressed to the point where Christopher had to have the majority of his stomach removed through surgery and can now only consume 30 mL of food per half hour for the rest of his life.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants were negligent in failing to properly recognize and inform Christopher of the large lymph node in Christopher’s stomach and failing to inform him of the urgency of following up on it due to the risk of cancer.

Christopher alleges that due to the defendant’s negligence, he has suffered extreme pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of normal life.

Christine, Christopher’s wife, alleges that due to the defendant’s negligence, she has suffered the loss of her husband’s consortium, love, and support.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus court costs and any other relief the court deems proper.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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