A medical malpractice suit is at trial in Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth’s courtroom alleging an Alton pediatrician failed to diagnose a patient’s malignant germ cell tumor despite a persistent fever and swelling.

The jury trial began Feb. 13.

Plaintiff Midland State Bank, as guardian of minor Jentzen Felt, is represented at trial by Charles Armbruster and Michael Blotevogel of Armbruster Dripps Winterscheidt & Blotevogel LLC in Maryville.

Defendants Steven Zenker, MD, and Alton Multispecialists LTD are represented by Jeffrey Glass and Madelyn Lamb of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Belleville.

Midland State Bank filed a first amended complaint on Feb. 5 against Zenker and Alton Multispecialists. The two-count complaint alleges that shortly after birth, Felt came under the care of Zenker, a pediatrician working with Alton Multispecialists LTD. Felt was treated up to and including July 3, 2012.

Between December 2011 and July 3, 2012, Zenker examined Felt no fewer than 13 times, the suit states. Zenker was repeatedly informed that Felt was suffering from a persistent fever, which was confirmed during examinations.

Felt’s family allegedly asked Zenker to examine swelling on the child’s left buttock. Zenker examined the swelling during each visit, including abdominal palpations and cardio-pulmonary examinations.

Then on Aug. 3, 2012, Felt was taken to St. Louis Children’s Hospital due to the persistent fever and concerns about the swelling.

Shortly after admission, the swelling was diagnosed as a slow growing, malignant germ cell tumor.

As a result of the delay in diagnosis and treatment of the tumor, Felt was required to undergo aggressive chemotherapy.

Surgery could not be performed at the time because the tumor had grown so large that it became intertwined with major arteries and nerves.

As a result, Felt has suffered “substantial pain,” hearing loss, and an increased risk of future medical complications. He will also require continuous monitoring into the future, the suit states.

Midland State Bank alleges the defendants failed to acknowledge and document the growing lump, failed to acknowledge and document the need for a follow up visit after the child fell and reported low back pain, failed to observe the “large, obvious mass” forming above Felt’s buttocks and failed to refer Felt to another physician if Zenker felt he was unable to adequately diagnose and treat the mass.

The plaintiff seeks $50,000 for each count.

The defendants denied liability in their answer to the first amended complaint. 

The original complaint was filed on July 1, 2014, by Stacey Felt, individually and as next friend of Jentzen Felt, and Charles Felt.

The Felts filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint on Jan. 17, seeking to dismiss their individual claims for past medical bills and substitute Midland State Bank as guardian of Jentzen Felt.

“Stacey Felt believes it is in the best interest of Jentzen Felt that Midland State Bank’s Trust Group … serve as guardian of the property of Jentzen Felt, and that Midland State Bank will adequately protect her son’s interests,” the motion states.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-920

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