A four-year-old girl lost one eye to cancer and suffered additional damages to the other because her physician failed to diagnose the tumor that was growing inside. According to a recently-filed medical malpractice lawsuit in Daytona Beach, the doctor had as many as eight opportunities in less than a year to properly diagnose retinoblastoma but he failed every time.
On two occasions, according to the malpractice suit, the doctor even ran a red-light reflex test, the test used to detect cancer on the retina, but failed to diagnose the cancer or properly read the results of the test both times.
Still concerned about the outward appearance of her daughter's eye, the four-year-old's mother took her to another doctor for a second opinion. The ophthalmologist finally correctly diagnosed the daughter's retinoblastoma after ordering an MRI. The cancer covered almost 40 percent of the posterior chamber of the girl's right eye. Unfortunately, this delayed diagnosis was too late to save her eye.
The correct diagnosis came in February 2011. The original doctor who failed to diagnose the cancer had been seeing the young girl for problems with her eye since May 2009.
Retinoblastoma is a fast-growing cancer that typically affects young children rather than adults, although adults are not necessarily immune. The eye cancer can form in either or both eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you notice any changes in your child's eye that seem odd to you, you should contact your physician. Retinoblastoma is a rare form of cancer; your doctor should be able to correctly diagnose whether your child has it or not.
Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Lawsuit charges Halifax doctor missed spotting girl's eye cancer," July 16, 2013