Tumor not removed, claims man with melanoma

By Kelly Holleran | Dec 2, 2009

A man claims that despite his repeated requests, his doctor failed to remove a malignant tumor on his shoulder until eight months after his initial concerns.

Michael Alan Knapp filed a lawsuit Nov. 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Gregory and Musick Dermatology and Dr. James Gregory.

Knapp claims he initially visited Gregory on March 9, 2007, with concerns about a soft tissue tumor on his left upper shoulder.

"At the March 9, 2007 visit, Knapp requested that the tumor be removed and Dr. Gregory stated that he believed that the lesion was a benign cyst, told Knapp 'not to worry about it,' and scheduled Knapp's next office visit for one year later in March, 2008," the suit states.

Still, Knapp remained worried about the tumor, and returned to Gregory on Aug. 16, 2007, where Gregory discovered the cyst increased from 0.8 centimeters to 2 centimeters, the complaint says. Knapp discussed excision with Gregory, who maintained that Knapp should not be concerned with the cyst and scheduled Knapp's next appointment for August 2008, Knapp claims.

Again, on Nov. 27, 2007, Knapp visited Gregory and insisted he remove the cyst on his shoulder, according to the complaint.

"The pathology report from the biopsy showed a melanoma that was metastatic to the left shoulder and the diagnosis was confirmed by a second pathology reading by Washington University Medical Center," the suit states.

Knapp blames the defendants for failing to timely diagnose his malignant tumor, for failing to appropriately warn him of the malignancy and for failing to appropriately treat the melanoma.

In the two-count suit, Knapp is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Jack B. Spooner and Andrew S. Murrie of Spooner Law in St. Louis will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-633.

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