Cancer Metastasized Due to Delayed Diagnosis, Couple Claims
8-22-2018 23:54:00

     DENVER (CN) – A Kaiser doctor postponed a colonoscopy until a patient had advanced cancer, the patient and her husband claim in Denver City and County District Court.

     Roberta Jewell, formerly known as Roberta Sulik, sued Colorado Permanente Medical Group, P.C. and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, also known as Kaiser Permanente, for negligence and Jennifer L. Vacca M.D. for medical negligence. Her husband Marcus Jewell also sued for loss of consortium.
     According to the lawsuit, Dr. Vacca misdiagnosed Roberta Jewell in Aug. 2015.
     “Ms. Jewell’s symptoms of rectal bleeding, fatigue, changes in bowel habits and abdominal discomfort are symptoms and signs of colorectal cancer,” the complaint states.
     “At the time of this visit, Dr. Vacca diagnosed Ms. Jewell with internal hemorrhoids. Dr. Vacca prescribed Ms. Jewell probiotics, stool softeners and suppositories,” it states.
     Jewell’s previous colonoscopy three years earlier had revealed precancerous polyps and her father had died of colon cancer, according to the complaint. Jewell contends that those risk factors, among others, should have prompted Vacca to recommend another colonoscopy. Instead, a non-party physician assistant referred Jewell for the procedure over a year later, when Jewell’s rectal bleeding had still not ceased, Jewell claims. Even then, Vacca did not approve it for another three months, Jewell claims.
     In Jan. 2017, Jewell had a colonoscopy, CT scan and biopsy, and was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, according to the complaint.
     “Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasized to the liver. Ms. Jewell’s oncologist notes that her cancer is now incurable,” the complaint states.
     Roberta and Marcus Jewell seek general and special damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs of suit, fees and a jury trial. They are represented by Henry Miniter and, David S. Woodruff of Wahlberg, Woodruff, Nimmo & Sloane in Denver.