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Tom Giuffra Wins Plaintiff Verdict of $2.5 Million Against RUMC in Cancer Misdiagnosis

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Five years ago, Plaintiff received a diagnosis of thymic cancer, something no one wants to hear. Plaintiff was only 41 at the time of diagnosis. Determined to beat the cancer she was treated with three months of painful chemotherapy. Thymic cancer is a rare cancer of the thymus gland in the chest.

Unfortunately, “the treatment didn’t work, and doctors were puzzled. Until they made a startling discovery. Plaintiff didn’t have cancer. Further research revealed her biopsy slides had been mixed up at Richmond University Medical Center with those of another patient, who, in fact, had thymic cancer.”

Last week, on Tuesday, a Staten Island jury found Richmond University Medical Center liable for Plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Plaintiff was awarded $2.5 million in damages in what Thomas Giuffra, Plaintiff’s attorney, said was the first civil verdict reached at the new Staten Island Courthouse in St. George. This is Mr. Giuffra’s 18th million dollar verdict. Mr. Giuffra is one of the only lawyers in NYC who has million dollar verdicts in all five boroughs of NYC as well as Nassau and Suffolk.

“I am grateful that the members of the jury put in the time and effort to give Plaintiff justice for the needless wrong that was done to her,’ said Giuffra, a partner in the Manhattan-based firm Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP. I am hopeful that Richmond University will institute procedures to ensure that something like this does not happen to another one of its patients in the future. Plaintiff is pleased with the verdict, but unfortunately no amount of money can restore her health and eliminate the trauma that she and her family sustained,” the lawyer said.

Thomas Giuffra said his client “suffers from permanent fatigue and shortness of breath and has lost her sense of taste due to chemotherapy.”

A spokesman of the hospital commented that “while we appreciate the service of the jury, we respectfully disagree with the verdict. As we intend to pursue the appeals process, which we believe will exonerate the hospital, we are unable to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit at this time.”

The thymus is a small gland in the upper part of the chest, which helps produce white blood cells in childhood as a part of the body’s immune system. Eventually, as the body matures, the thymus gland decreases in size and is replaced by fat tissue.

Giuffra said his client was found to have a mass in her chest and went to Richmond University in 2010 to undergo a biopsy to determine whether the mass was cancerous. Plaintiff was told her biopsy was positive for thymic cancer. Thymic cancer is frequently deadly if not diagnosed and treated in its early stages. Plaintiff chose to undergo chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. She received chemotherapy for three months, enduring the pain, suffering and side effects chemo entails.

During a follow up consultation doctors discovered Plaintiff’s chemotherapy had substantially no effect on the mass. Plaintiff’s doctors decided to remove the mass, and tests revealed it was not cancerous. Sloan Kettering conducted an extensive investigation, checking Plaintiff’s DNA against the DNA in the cancerous sample. The DNA samples did not match.

If you or someone you know was injured because of medical malpractice or a third party’s negligence contact the lawyer’s at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP and speak with experienced trial attorneys today. Call us at 800-349-0004 or contact us online.

You can find the full silive article (written by Frank Donnelly) here.

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