Local man claims doctors failed to detect early colon cancer

Kelly Holleran Apr. 7, 2009, 9:17am

An Orange resident claims he has less than a 50 percent chance to live longer than five years because doctors failed to diagnose his cancer in its early stages.

Thomas Hill and his wife, Colleen Hill, filed suit April 3 in Jefferson District Court against Drs. F.A. Krull and R.H. Lofton and Community Pathology Associates.

Thomas Hill says his appendix was removed on Oct. 3, 2006, and was submitted to Community Pathology Associates and Drs. Krull and Lofton to determine whether the appendix had any abnormalities.

The doctors returned a normal report for the pathology sample.

Thomas Hill claims he remained free of cancer symptoms until December 2008, when he began to have abdominal pain. He was required to undergo surgery in February, and during the procedure, his doctor discovered colon cancer, the suit states.

According to the complaint, doctors discovered the invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma after review of a specimen slide of Thomas Hill's appendix that was provided in October 2006.

"Had the defendants properly read the slides and diagnosed plaintiff's colon cancer in October 2006, his cancer was at a stage where it was amenable to treatment and where it had not spread or metastasized to other tissues, systems and organs," the suit states.

In addition, Hill alleges that had he been diagnosed with cancer in 2006, he would have had more than a 50 percent chance at surviving the disease. But since then, the cancer has grown and spread to other locations, causing Thomas Hill to be required to undergo chemotherapy and causing his chances of surviving the illness for longer than five years to be less than 50 percent, the suit states.

According to the suit, Thomas Hill was working as a tank inspector and making more than $52,000 per year, plus benefits, before his cancer diagnosis. He claims he could have reasonably expected his earnings to continue to increase, but will now suffer a loss of earnings and earning capacity.

He claims he has also suffered physical pain, physical impairment and mental anguish because of the cancer and incurred medical expenses, according to the complaint.

His wife, Colleen Hill, says she suffered a loss of household services and a loss of consortium.

The Hills are seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of the court, pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Clay Dugas and Mike Jacobellis of Clay Dugas and Associates in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D183-715.

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