A Jefferson County woman claims she has only six months to live after her doctor failed to diagnose her with breast cancer at its first signs more than five years ago.
Judy White filed a lawsuit Feb. 1 in Jefferson County District Court against Dr. Shama Quaraishi.
In her complaint, White alleges she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2010. By the time she was diagnosed, however, the cancer had spread to her lungs and lymph nodes and she was given a mere six months to live, according to the complaint.
"Ms. White's tragic situation could have been avoided had Dr. Quaraishi followed well-established literature and guidelines published in the medical community long before Ms. White's diagnosis in March of 2010," the suit states.
White possessed many risk factors for developing the disease. For instance, her mother had developed the disease. In addition, White is an obese, African-American woman, which increases her chances, the complaint says.
Given White's multiple risk factors, she claims Quaraishi should have proceeded with more caution when White visited her office on April 12, 2005, with concerns of tenderness and burning in her left breast and a mass in her right breast. Despite White's history, Quaraishi failed to order a biopsy or further testing, according to the complaint.
White continued to visit Quaraishi over the next few years with similar concerns, but Quaraishi failed to follow up to determine whether White had developed cancer, the suit states.
It was not until March 2010, however, after White found the lump in her right breast while showering, that she was diagnosed with cancer. Quaraishi failed to diagnose White -- instead a nurse practitioner filling in for the doctor referred White to a surgeon and further mammograms, the complaint says.
The cancer was found to have spread to White's lungs and her lymph nodes, and she underwent chemotherapy and radiation, according to the complaint. Because of the intense treatment, White began to experience significant side effects, including rectal bleeding and symptoms of heart failure, the suit states. As a result, she was forced to suspend her treatment, the complaint says.
White's oncologist gave her six months to live in December 2011, according to the complaint.
In her complaint, White seeks a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
Collin Cobb of Templeton and Brinkley in Beaumont will be representing her.
Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. B191-865