Jury clears OB-GYN of failing to diagnose breast cancer

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 13, 2007, 2:18am

After deliberating three-and-a-half hours a Madison County civil jury cleared a Maryville obstetrician-gynecologist of failing to diagnose breast cancer in a five day medical malpractice case.

Wendy Wiggins sued Tina Gingrich, M.D. in 2004, claiming Gingrich negligently failed to obtain a complete history of her condition and family history during a Sept. 17, 2002, office visit.

She also claimed Gingrich failed to recognize the severity of her presenting condition, failed to take appropriate follow-up action based upon the examination and failed to advise her of appropriate follow-up care on the presenting condition.

Wiggins claimed her breast cancer went undiagnosed until June 2003.

She claimed she experienced severe pain and suffering, disfigurement, lost time from work and became disabled.

Wiggins also claimed she became liable for large sums of money in medical expenses.

She also claimed that had she been diagnosed by Gingrich at the time of her visit in 2002, she would have been covered by a health insurance plan.

She no longer had health insurance when she was diagnosed, according to her suit.

Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron presided over the trial.

Wiggins was represented by Patricia Zimmer of Belleville.

Gingrich was represented by Ransom Wuller of Belleville.

Defendants in Madison County medical malpractice trials have faired well in the past year.

On Feb. 15, Alton Memorial Hospital and Samuel Essma, M.D. were ordered to pay James Halloway $450,000 after the defendants admitted they were negligent for failing to identify ionic contrast dye prior to injecting it into Halloway.

Hospital sources told the Record that they offered Halloway the same amount to settle the case, but his attorney Rex Carr thought the case was worth much more.

Carr asked the jury for $2.3 million dollars.

On Jan. 31, Rex Carr lost a medical malpractice case against Patrick Zimmermann, M.D. of Family Medicine Associates in Collinsville.

Douglas Storm claimed Zimmermann failed to diagnose his wife Maria's cancer which began as a mole on her back.

Carr had asked the jury, which deliberated nearly four hours, to award $10.9 million in damages to the family.

In May of 2006, the late Morris Chapman lost a medical malpractice case against Troy doctor Dolores Cantrell, M.D.

After deliberating nearly four hours after hearing three hours of closing arguments earlier in the day, the jury ruled Cantrell met the standard of care in treating William Hoppe, II.

Pamela Hoppe, as special administrator of the estate of William Hoppe II, filed suit against Cantrell on Feb. 27, 2004, claiming she misdiagnosed her husband's unstable angina on July 18, 2003, which caused his death the next day.

Hoppe claimed that Cantrell failed to adequately and promptly treat angina and failed to send her husband to a cardiologist for immediate help.

Next week, Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla will begin a medical malpractice case against an Edwardsville nursing home.

The trial was set to begin last week, however there was a juror shortage.

Eight other medical malpractice or wrongful death suits against doctors and hospitals are planned for trial in Madison County through December.

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