Former inmate sues doctor, alleging failure to diagnose gastric cancer

Kasey Schefflin-Emrich Sep. 24, 2015, 1:20pm


A former inmate is suing a mobile imaging services provider and one of its doctors, alleging failure to properly diagnose him with gastric cancer.

Carlos Pena of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit Aug. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against MobilexUSA Inc. and Dr. James I. Collins, alleging professional negligence.

According to the complaint, on Nov. 5, 2013, Pena was an inmate at SCI Quehanna Boot Camp in Karthus when he was seen in the medical unit because he was experiencing bowel problems. The suit states Pena underwent an upper GI diagnostic test performed by a MobilexUSA technician a week later, and the following day Collins misread the images as normal and failed to detect an abnormal gastric mass lesion.

As the result of the misdiagnosis, the lawsuit states, Pena's condition worsened and he had to have a blood transfusion in January 2014 due to significant anemia. Additionally, an endoscopy showed Pena had metastatic gastric cancer, which led to him undergoing outpatient chemotherapy and radiation, the suit says.

The civil action says the defendants are faulted with performing diagnostic services without being sufficiently qualified, failing to detect an abnormality that was clearly evident, failing to act with the same care as other medical practitioners and not seeking advice or instruction from qualified specialists or superiors.

MobilexUSA, specifically, is alleged to have employed an individual who lacked experience, failing to train and supervise its employees with regards to diagnostic services and not putting adequate safeguards in place to ensure that potentially fatal conditions are accurately diagnosed.

The plaintiff alleges he suffered intense pain, emotional distress, discomfort, an increased risk of serious harm due to the delayed diagnosis and the loss of a chance for a better outcome.

Pena seeks damages as well as attorney fees and court costs. He is represented by attorneys Gerald J. Williams, Beth G. Cole and Samuel Abloeser of Williams Cuker Berezofsky in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:15-cv-04290-WB.

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