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Patient alleged that radiologist misread breast imaging
District of Columbia
District of Columbia
District of Columbia, Superior Court
chest-scar and/or disfigurement, breast;
other-mastectomy; other-loss of consortium
Medical Malpractice – Radiology, Radiologist, Breast Cancer, Cancer Diagnosis, Delayed Treatment, Failure to Detect
Ann Domorad and Robert Domorad v. Bryan A. DeFranco, M.D. and Doctors, Groover, Christie & Merritt P.C.,
No. 2015 CA 007137 M
February 25, 2019
Ann K. Domorad (Female, 44 Years),
Robert Domorad (Male)
Thomas M. Wochok;
William E. Artz, P.C.;
Ann K. Domorad, Robert Domorad ■ William E. Artz;
William E. Artz, P.C.;
Ann K. Domorad, Robert Domorad
Kim Geisinger; M.D.; Pathology; Jackson,
MS called by:
Thomas M. Wochok, William E. Artz ■ Larry Lynch; Ph.D.; Economics; Salem,
VA called by:
Thomas M. Wochok, William E. Artz ■ Richard Hirschman; M.D.; Oncology; New York,
NY called by:
Thomas M. Wochok, William E. Artz ■ Elizabeth Rafferty; M.D.; Radiology; Boston,
MA called by:
Thomas M. Wochok, William E. Artz
Bryan A. DeFranco,
Doctors, Groover, Christie & Merritt P.C.
Stephen L. Altman;
Wharton, Levin, Ehrmantraut & Klein, PA;
Doctors, Groover, Christie & Merritt P.C. ■ Andrew J. Spence;
Gleason, Flynn, Emig & McAfee, Chartered;
Bryan A. DeFranco, Doctors, Groover, Christie & Merritt P.C.
NY called by:
Stephen L. Altman, Andrew J. Spence ■ Ira Bleiweiss;
PA called by:
Stephen L. Altman, Andrew J. Spence ■ Marc Kaye;
FL called by:
Stephen L. Altman, Andrew J. Spence
ProAssurance Corp. for both defendants
On Jan. 23, 2014, plaintiff Ann Domorad, 44, an educational employee, presented to the offices of Drs. Groover, Christie & Merritt, P.C., in the District of Columbia, for a diagnostic left digital mammography and breast ultrasonography. The studies were examined by radiologist Dr. Bryan A. DeFranco, who interpreted both studies as demonstrating no suspicious mass densities or evidence of malignancy. Domorad was diagnosed with breast cancer in early December 2014 after undergoing another mammography and breast ultrasonography. She claimed that the delay in diagnosis led her to undergo extensive treatment and surgeries, resulting in a shortened life expectancy. Domorad sued DeFranco and Doctors, Groover, Christie & Merritt P.C. She alleged that DeFranco and the practice had failed to properly interpret and report the results of the breast imaging, which resulted in the delay of diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer. Domorad’s visit to the practice was a result of a Jan. 14, 2014, screening mammography in which the treating doctor had noted an asymmetric density of the left breast and recommended follow-up breast imaging. According to Domorad, the imaging studies were misread by DeFranco and led to the delay in diagnosis. Domorad’s expert witnesses contended that the Jan. 23 diagnostic imaging showed a 2.5-centimeter tumor that, by the time of the Dec. 14, 2014, imaging, had grown to nearly 8 centimeters. The defense contended that the imaging studies were not misread by DeFranco and did not result in a delay in diagnosis. The defense further contended that there was no causation as the treatment and outcome of Domorad’s cancer would have been the same regardless of an earlier diagnosis.
In December 2014, Domorad was diagnosed with breast cancer. She then presented to Georgetown University Hospital for a biopsy that revealed cancerous nodes. Domorad underwent a surgical procedure during which her doctors counted 23 nodes. Over the next year, Domorad underwent surgical procedures that included a double mastectomy, reconstruction surgery, and sentinel and axillary node dissections. Throughout 2015, Domorad underwent an ordinary regimen of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Domorad ultimately claimed she had suffered disfigurement and loss of sensation as a result of the double mastectomy, as well as recurring headaches, pain, stiffness, immobility and muscle spasms from her radiation treatment. Domorad’s oncology expert testified that Domorad’s life expectancy had diminished as a result of the alleged delay in treatment. He referred to the 7th edition of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual to judge that Domorad’s symptoms indicated a chance of survival at under 50 percent. He further testified as to the expected costs of treatment should Domorad’s cancer return based on the treatment options his own practice sold. Domorad sought compensation for future medical expenses and future economic and noneconomic loss. Her husband, Robert Domorad, sought compensation for loss of consortium. A defense pathology expert opined that Domorad’s cancer was slow-growing and not as great a danger as Domorad alleged it to be. This was disputed by Domorad’s pathology expert, who stated that the rate of growth of the cancer was a quick-growing form. The defense’s oncology expert contended that Domorad’s cancer had a good prognosis and a high likelihood of cure. He referred to the newer 8th edition of the AJCC Manual to show that Domorad had a survival chance of more than 90 percent.
The jury found that DeFranco misread the diagnostic imagery taken on Jan. 23, 2014 and that DeFranco and Doctors, Groover, Christie and Merritt were liable for Domorad’s injuries. They awarded $640,000 to Ann Domorad for future medical expenses, as well as economic and non-economic losses, and $40,000 to Robert Domorad for loss of consortium.
Ann K. Domorad: $40,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $300,000 Personal Injury: future economic loss; $300,000 Personal Injury: future noneconomic loss; Robert Domorad: $40,000 Personal Injury: loss of consortium
Heidi M. Pasichow
4 male/ 4 female
This report was based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.