SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) - A physician assistant decided a man's neck tumor was benign by simply smelling it, and then threw it away, though it was a fast-growing and aggressive cancer, the patient claims in court.
Robert Gash sued the United States of America in Federal Court on Tuesday. They are the only parties to the lawsuit.
Gash claims he sought treatment for a lump in his neck from Jonathan H. Boswell, P.A., at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center on Dec. 3, 2012. Though another doctor recommended a CT scan of the lump, Gash says Boswell ordered him back two weeks later to have the lump removed.
"Plaintiff Robert Gash returned to Jonathan Boswell, P.A. as scheduled on December 17, 2012, at which time the physician's assistant excised a 2.1 x 3.0 cm lesion from the right side of plaintiff's neck," the complaint states. "Boswell smelled the tissue, told plaintiff that it was a benign, sebaceous cyst, and discarded the tissue without sending it to pathology. Boswell reassured plaintiff that it was nothing to worry about.
"On May 1, 2013, Robert Gash sought a second opinion regarding the lump that was once again growing on his neck, and he presented to Dr. Daniel Cardwell, with Ferrell-Duncan clinic in Springfield. Dr. Cardwell performed an excision and biopsy and appropriately sent the tissue to pathology, which reported back that same date that the patient had a squamous cell carcinoma.
"On May 16, 2013, plaintiff underwent a radical neck dissection, with additional removal of the tonsils and nasopharyngeal nodes. It was confirmed that he had metastatic well differentiated keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, an extremely fast growing and aggressive cancer."
Gash claims that the cancer was able to grow and spread due to Boswell's negligence, forcing him to undergo additional therapies and treatments and to suffer nerve damage in his neck.
He seeks $2,155,592 in compensatory damages. He is represented by Roger Johnson of Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci, of Springfield, Mo.
Neither Boswell nor Jordan Valley Community Health Center were named as defendants. The United States was named as the lone defendant because Boswell and Jordan Valley are considered contractors by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.