Louisiana Record

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Tulane Hospital, doctors sued for allegedly misdiagnosing man with cancer, giving him chemotherapy

By Andrey Burin | Jul 23, 2015


NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans hospital and a group of doctors are being sued by a family whose now deceased relative underwent chemotherapy for liver cancer, but was discovered to not have cancer when an autopsy was performed after his death.

Vada Stithem, Tammy Stalsby, Donna Hiltebrwin And Larry Stithem field suit against Tulane University Hospital, Luis A. Balart, Jr. M.D., Joseph F. Buell, M.D. and Barry G. Blank, M.D. in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on June 9.

The plaintiff allege that Melvin D. Stithem was under the care of physicians at the facilities of the defendant when he underwent a CT scan interpreted by defendant Blank who diagnosed him with liver cancer. Stithem purportedly underwent chemotherapy in 2008 and again in 2009 when diagnosed with a recurrence of the same cancer. On Dec. 21, 2010 he was again allegedly diagnosed with liver cancer, underwent a regimen of chemotherapy, and died on Jan. 21, 2011, the suit claims. Following Stithem’s death, an autopsy of the body revealed he did did not have cancer.

Defendants are accused of breaching the standard of care in failing to properly interpret radiological images, failing to properly interpret other diagnostic testing, failing to properly and timely treat the complainant's condition and negligent administration of unnecessary, expensive, and invasive medical treatment.

Plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount in damages for the decedent's undergoing of invasive procedures, unnecessary treatment, undue pain and suffering, mental anguish/distress and ultimately death.

The plaintiffs are represented by deGravelles, Palmintier, Holthaus & Fruge, LLP.

The case has been assigned to Division A Judge Tiffany G. Chase.

Case no. 2015-05531.

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