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How did a benign brain tumor cause a woman to go blind in one eye?

 

A:

First of all, you should know the difference between a benign tumor and a metastatic tumor.

A benign tumor is a growth that simply grows and is not cancerous. It is often known as a space-occupying lesion or tumor. A metastatic tumor on the other hand is cancerous and can spread throughout your body.

I represented a woman who worked as a home health aide. One day she was scheduled to take her client to a doctor's visit and they were taking a van to the doctor. En route to the doctor's visit, the van was involved in a car accident. My client, the home health aide, hit her head inside the van as a result of a car accident.

Ironically, this accident happened right in front of a hospital emergency room here in NY. She and her client were taken into the emergency room for evaluation.

Because my client suffered some head trauma, she had a CAT scan and x-rays done of her head. Hours later, she was told everything looked good and she could go home. She didn't think anything further about this incident...until 9 months later.

Over the next nine months, my client began to notice that the vision in one of her eyes was getting blurry. She never had a problem before. She chalked it up to simply getting older. Finally, she decided to make an appointment with her eye doctor. Her eye doctor examined her, learned that she'd been involved in a car accident nine months earlier, was told that she had x-rays and a CAT scan that were normal but for some reason was having blurry vision in only one eye.

Another CAT scan was ordered. This one was shocking. This one revealed a massive tumor in her brain that was putting pressure on her optic nerve. That explained why she was having worsening vision over the past few months.

The eye doctor obtained a copy of the CAT scan films and CAT scan report done nine months earlier following the car accident. What she learned was remarkable.

The radiologist who reviewed the CAT scan correctly identified that this patient had a tumor in her brain! He noted it and acknowledged that she had this in her brain. He also indicated that the patient needed to be told about it before she left the emergency room. That's where the screwup occurred.

Nobody bothered to tell the patient that she had a brain tumor sitting near her optic nerve following her car accident.

Unfortunately for my client, by the time this was ultimately diagnosed, this benign tumor had cut off the blood supply to her optic nerve and caused her to become totally blind in one eye.

It was clear, to everyone involved, that if the patient had been told nine months earlier that she had a brain tumor, she would have had it surgically removed and it never would've created any damage to the optic nerve. That means she would never have had any problem with her vision at all.

This failure to tell my client about her condition deprived her of the opportunity to get timely treatment. That's what caused her to go blind in one eye.

I was able to successfully settle my client's case for a  sizable seven-figure settlement, but she asked me afterward “Why couldn't the radiologist simply have told the emergency room doctor about what he saw? Why couldn't somebody pick up the phone and ask me to return back to the hospital for follow-up?”

That's the real tragedy...that this was preventable.