WASHINGTON, D.C. – The family of a woman who died of Stage IV breast cancer and skin cancer say in superior court that Kaiser Permanente doctors are so inept that they misdiagnosed her cancer as ringworm and sent her home with a topical cream.
The husband and children of Carolyn Manning filed their complaint against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Medstar Health, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, Washington Hospital Center, and doctors John Butler, David Milzman, Jeffrey Pelton, Ingrid Soderlund and Sharmila Matippa in Washington, D.C. Superior Court.
In their complaint, the Mannings say their mother was a Kaiser member since 1983. Mrs. Manning was seen primarily by Dr. Matippa, according to the complaint.
The family claims that in Sept. 2009, Mrs. Manning underwent a mammogram that was reported to her as normal. Four months later, she discovered red spots on her right breast, underarm area and right shoulder.
“Upon presentation to Dr. Matippa, Mrs. Manning was diagnosed with ringworm and prescribed a topical cream,” the family says.
“The cream did not appear to be resolving the ‘spots,’ and Mrs. Manning went back to Dr. Matippa, who eventually ordered a mammogram. In March of 2010, the mammogram indicated a right sided mass and a skin biopsy revealed skin cancer,” the family states.
Now facing cancer instead of a common skin infection, Mrs. Manning saw Dr. Butler in Apr. 2010, who recommended a breast biopsy.
On Apr. 15, 2010, Dr. Butler reported Stage IV aggressive breast cancer that was ‘treatable,’ but did not immediately order or perform surgery. Mrs. Manning then began chemotherapy that ran through Nov. 2010. During this time she was also seen by Drs. Jeffrey Pelton, Mahrukh Hussain, Leon Hwang and Matildo So, all of which were Kaiser employees acting within the scope of their employment,” the Manning family states. Hussain, Hwang and So are not named as defendants in the suit.
Mrs. Manning’s horrors continued when she underwent several body scans. One indicated lesions on her liver, and another was consistent with skeletal cancer. On Dec. 2, nearly eight months after her Stage IV breast cancer diagnosis, Manning underwent a right mastectomy at Washington Hospital Center performed by Dr. Butler.
On Jan. 14, 2011, Mrs. Manning was feeling ill and went to the emergency department at Washington Hospital Center where she was seen by Dr. Milzman. She was diagnosed as being dehydrated and needing to eat; she was then discharged at approximately 4:00 AM on Jan. 5, 2011,” the Mannings state.
Mrs. Manning made an appointment for Jan. 20 at the Kaiser North Capital facility. She saw Dr. Soderlund, who informed her that she was dehydrated and placed her on an IV.
“On Jan. 21, 2011, Mrs. Manning presented to the National Cancer Center at Washington Hospital Center where she was informed that she was too weak to undergo radiation and sent to the Washington Hospital Center emergency department to have them ‘run everything’ to find out what was wrong,” her family says.
Once in the emergency room, and presumably after “running everything,” Mrs. Manning was told she had an unknown infection. She was transferred to the ICU department at 4 AM on Jan. 22, 2011. When her family arrived at the hospital, they found their wife and mother “unresponsive and intubated,” they say.
The nurses at Washington Hospital Center could not provide them with answers and, eventually, the family was assembled in a conference room. While in the conference room, a physician informed the family that Mrs. Manning s infection had spread throughout her body and that she had ‘one day’ to live.
“After the meeting concluded, Mrs. Manning’s daughter went to her mother’s room but was stopped by a nurse and informed that Mrs. Manning had passed away,” the family concludes.
The family is suing for negligence in the death of their wife and mother. Specifically, while Mrs. Manning was in their care, “Defendants thereby breached their duties of care owed to Mrs. Manning and her Estate including, but not limited to, the following:
a. Failing to properly diagnose and treat Mrs. Manning;
b. Failing to timely treat Mrs. Manning;
c. Failing to appropriately monitor and treat Mrs. Manning’s condition;
d. Perform each surgery properly;
e. Failing to timely diagnose Mrs. Manning’s cancer as it was apparently originally diagnosed as a Stage IV despite Mrs. Manning’s consistent treatment with Defendants;
f. Failing to recognize lesions on Mrs. Manning’s liver as significant;
g. Failing to timely and properly read any mammogram, specifically but not limited to any May 2009 mammogram;
h. Failing to appreciate Mrs. Manning’s condition in December of 2010 and January of 201l;
i. Discharging Mrs. Manning on January 15, 2011; and
j. Being otherwise negligent,” according to the family’s complaint.
The Manning family seeks at least $5 million in compensatory damages in the loss of their wife and mother. They are represented by Barry and Jonathan Nace of the firm Paulson and Nace in Washington D.C.