Our client was a sixty-three-year-old male professional. He was referred by his general dentist to an oral specialist to assess and treat an oral lesion with an appearance consistent with potential cancer. The oral specialist assumed that the oral lesion was not cancerous but only benign periodontal disease. Over the course of 17 months, the oral specialist never performed any type of tissue biopsy, choosing instead to prescribe approximately 12 courses of antibiotics and 9 courses of pain medication, and performing multiple debridement procedures and extractions. The lesion did not heal, and, upon the patient’s insistence, he was eventually referred to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. The oral surgeon immediately performed a biopsy of the lesion, and pathologic examination determined that it was oral cancer. A work-up found that his cancer had spread throughout his body leading to a diagnosis of Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma. He underwent jaw surgery bilaterally to remove the invasive tumor, and required a fibulectomy to rebuild the jaw. Thereafter, he underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. He could not undertake nutrition by mouth. He had to live with a feeding tube and a PICC line. He could not return to work and suffered recurrence of his metastatic oral cancer requiring additional chemotherapy and radiation, with a poor prognosis. The case settled at mediation following the disclosure of experts.
908 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314