Cancer victim wins suit

Posted:05/21/10

A jury of six in Waterbury Superior Court on Wednesday awarded $4 million to a New Milford woman and $1 million to her husband for negligence caused by her doctor for failing to recommend the removal of her ovaries before they became cancerous.

Allison Downs, 51, has terminal ovarian cancer with a life expectancy of two years. Her husband of eight years, Michael, 41, was awarded $1 million for suffering caused by his wife’s illness and the harm it has caused their marriage.

Jurors believed Downs’ claim that Dr. Orlito Trias, her gynecologist for 20 years, should have advised her to remove the ovaries when she had a partial hysterectomy in June 2005 to remove fibroid tumors. Downs, who has a strong family history of breast cancer, had her breasts removed when she was in her 20s as a prevention against the illness that claimed the lives of her mother and grandmother.

The mother of two adult children was found to be suffering from stage three ovarian cancer after seeking medical attention in July 2006 for abdominal pain. Downs returned to Trias, who told her he couldn’t find anything wrong. She sought a second opinion.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and told it had spread throughout her pelvis. She underwent several rounds of surgery and chemotherapy, but the cancer continued to spread and cause discomfort and numbness.

“If I had known there was a link, the decision would have been simple to make,” Downs said. “He said there was nothing wrong with them and there was no need to take them out. I was just nervous about the fibroid tumors. You expect your gynecologist to inform you about the risks.”

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