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Florida Verdicts

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Plaintiff: Negligent colonoscopy led to delayed cancer diagnosis

Type:

Verdict-Defendant

State:

Florida

Venue:

Palm Beach County

Court:

Palm Beach County Circuit Court, 15th

Injury Type(s):

other-resection; other-radiation therapy; cancer; cancer-chemotherapy; cancer-colon; cancer-liver; cancer-metastatic; gastrointestinal/digestive-colon

Case Type:

Medical Malpractice - Cancer Diagnosis, Failure to Detect, Failure to Diagnose

Case Name:

Zaven Kazandijian and Marie Kazandijian His wife, individually and on behalf of their children, Corina Kazandijian, Sarina Kazandijian, and Alena Kazandijian v. David Vastola, DO and Your Good Health Medical Group, P.A., a Florida corporation, No. 2015-CA-005637

Date:

August 18, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Marie Kazandjian (Female, 48 Years), 

Zaven Kazandjian (Male, 66 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Gary W. Roberts; Gary Roberts & Associates, P.A.; West Palm Beach, FL, for Marie Kazandjian, Zaven Kazandjian ■ Susan B. Ramsey; Gary Roberts & Associates, P.A.; West Palm Beach, FL, for Marie Kazandjian, Zaven Kazandjian

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Andrew Schneider; M.D.; Oncology; Lauderhill, FL called by: Gary W. Roberts, Susan B. Ramsey ■ Harold Linde; Psy.D.; Psychology/Counseling; Tampa, FL called by: Gary W. Roberts, Susan B. Ramsey ■ Robert Odze; M.D.; Gastrointestinal Pathology; Boston, MA called by: Gary W. Roberts, Susan B. Ramsey ■ William Ravich; M.D.; Gastroenterology; Lutherville, MD called by: Gary W. Roberts, Susan B. Ramsey

Defendant(s):

David Vastola, 

Your Good Health Medical Group, P.A.

Defense Attorney(s):

Keith J. Puya; The Law Offices of Keith J. Puya, P.A.; Palm Beach Gardens, FL, for David Vastola, Your Good Health Medical Group, P.A. ■ Hector R. Buigas; The Law Offices of Keith J. Puya, P.A.; Palm Beach Gardens, FL, for David Vastola, Your Good Health Medical Group, P.A.

Defendant Expert(s):

Peter Salomon; Gastroenterology; Boca Raton, FL called by: Keith J. Puya, Hector R. Buigas ■ Kamran Ajami; Pathology; Plantation, FL called by: Keith J. Puya, Hector R. Buigas ■ Frederick Herman; Colon & Rectal Surgery; Plantation, FL called by: Keith J. Puya, Hector R. Buigas

Insurer(s):

Doctors Co. for both defendants

Facts:

On Oct. 17, 2011, plaintiff Zaven Kazandjian, 66, a hair stylist, had a colonoscopy, which was performed by gastroenterology specialist Dr. David Vastola. Kazandjian had annual colonoscopies from 1993 to 1997 and also had exams in 2000, 2005 and 2008. Each exam was performed by a different doctor. The results of the 2011 colonoscopy were normal. Then, in June 2013, Kazandjian was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and given six to 20 months to live. Kazandjian and his wife, acting individually and on behalf of their three children, sued Vastola and his practice, Your Good Health Medical Group, P.A. The plaintiffs' last name was incorrectly spelled, as Kazandijian, on the original case caption. Kazandjian alleged the 2011 colonoscopy was negligently performed, amounting to medical malpractice. Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that Vastola should have detected the cancer during the exam, which would have given Kazandjian a better prognosis. Moreover, the colonoscopy was performed in only eight minutes, which was not enough time to properly inspect the colon. Counsel for Vastola and his practice argued that there is no standard for the duration of colonoscopies. Counsel pointed out that one of Kazandjian's prior colonoscopies, with a different physician, was 10 minutes in length. In addition, the defense counsel stated that the colon cancer was discovered in 2013 in an area of the colon where it was easy to detect; therefore, the cancer either developed after the 2011 colonoscopy or was not clinically detectable at that time.

Injury:

After the cancer diagnosis, Kazandjian had a resection of his colon. The cancer was successfully removed from the colon, but by the time he was diagnosed, the tumor had metastasized into his liver. Kazandjian has had four open surgeries to remove tumors from his liver and for related complications. He has also undergone CyberKnife radiation therapy on his liver about a dozen times. Following the trial, Kazandjian was set to have a fifth open procedure on his liver, but doctors determined they could not remove the latest tumor. He will instead treat it with CyberKnife and chemotherapy. Kazandjian was originally given a prognosis of six to 20 months to live. While Kazandjian has survived longer than than expected, doctors believe he will eventually succumb to the cancer. He was forced to sell his hair styling business while battling the disease. Kazandjian sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and damages for past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Marie Kazandjian, filed a loss of consortium claim.

Result:

The jury rendered a defense verdict. It found that there was no negligence on the part of Vastola that was a legal cause of loss, injury or damage to Kazandjian.

Trial Information:

Judge:

David E. French

Demand:

None

Offer:

$250,000

Trial Length:

2  weeks

Trial Deliberations:

80  minutes

Jury Vote:

6-0

Jury Composition:

5 male/ 1 female; 6 white

Post Trial:

Plaintiff's counsel has filed a motion for a new trial.

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff's counsel declined to contribute.