June 21, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter | The American Association For Justice Archive

June 21, 2016, PNLR E-Newsletter

PNLR logo


Negligent chemotherapy treatment

photo of chemotherapy drugs

The plaintiff, who needs a heart transplant as a result of heart failure brought on by an overdose of chemotherapy drugs, alleged a doctor, his practice, and a hospital were liable for negligent administration of her chemotherapy. The parties settled for $12 million. Rogers v. Mathey.

Jessica Rogers, a 22-year-old college student, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. A Seattle oncologist recommended that she undergo four cycles of chemotherapy—consisting of vincristine, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide (VAC) alternating with ifosfamide and etoposide (IE)—to shrink the tumor, surgery to remove it, and postoperative chemotherapy. The maximum dosage of doxorubicin under this protocol was 375 mg/m2. Rogers, who wished to have treatment close to her home north of the city, then consulted oncologist Bruce Mathey, who worked at North Puget Cancer Center, which is operated by United General Hospital.

During the next 11 months, Mathey administered nine cycles of VAC, including 675 mg/m2 of doxorubicin, and eight courses of IE. Rogers later developed doxorubicin-induced heart failure, necessitating extensive hospitalizations and multiple surgeries, one of which was an attempt to save her life. Now 28, she needs a heart transplant.

Rogers sued Mathey, his practice, and United General, alleging negligent administration of chemotherapy, particularly the excessive dose of doxorubicin. The plaintiff claimed that Mathey had never treated Ewing’s sarcoma and was unfamiliar with any protocol that allowed for such a dosage of doxorubicin.

The parties settled for $12 million, the defendants’ policy limits. The hospital paid $10 million, and Mathey and his practice each paid $1 million.

Citation: Rogers v. Mathey, No. 14-2-00629-5 (Wash. Super. Ct. Skagit Cnty. May 3, 2016).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Robert N. Gellatly, Seattle.