A Missouri medical patient claims a physician assistant determined his neck tumor was benign by smelling it.
The defendant, Robert Gash, is suing the United States of America in federal court after a Missouri physician assistant removed a lump from his neck and claimed he could tell from the smell that it was benign and then discarded it without having a pathologist test the tissue.
Gash sought treatment for a lump in his neck at Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield on Dec. 3, 2012.
Jonathan Boswell, “the physician's assistant excised a 2.1 x 3.0 cm lesion from the right side of plaintiff's neck," the complaint states. "Boswell smelled the tissue, told plaintiff that it was a benign, sebaceous cyst, and discarded the tissue without sending it to pathology. Boswell reassured plaintiff that it was nothing to worry about.”
By May of 2013, the lump had returned and Gash sought a second opinion.
“Dr. [Daniel] Cardwell performed an excision and biopsy and appropriately sent the tissue to pathology, which reported back that same date that the patient had a squamous cell carcinoma,” the complaint says.
Gash claims that the cancer metastasized after Boswell failed to biopsy it.
“On May 16, 2013, plaintiff underwent a radical neck dissection, with additional removal of the tonsils and nasopharyngeal nodes,” says the complaint. “It was confirmed that he had metastatic well differentiated keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, an extremely fast growing and aggressive cancer.”
Gash seeks $2,155,592 in compensatory damages.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons / Nevit Dilmen (talk), Lifetechnologies.com