Cardiologist in legal trouble after failing to diagnose patient’s fatal kidney cancer

A New York appeals court revived a lawsuit Feb. 11 involving a cardiologist who was accused of failing to diagnose a patient’s fatal kidney cancer nearly a decade and a half ago.

The suit, which concerns physician Danny Woo and his practice group, Williamsbridge Cardiology, was initially dismissed, according to Law360, but a five-judge panel reversed that decision on Tuesday after a factual dispute. Woo had been treating the patient in question, Narace Dookhie, since 1999 and continued to treat him after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and until a month before his death in 2012.

Back in 2006, an MRI revealed a cyst Dookhie’s family argues should have been a red flag for kidney cancer. But Woo failed to refer the patient to a specialist or diagnose the mass himself.

Brunette Dookhie, Narace’s widow, filed a claim in August 2014 under New York’s continuous treatment doctrine, claiming her complaint was timely because it fell within two and a half years of the last date her husband was treated by Woo. But Woo disputed that claim, noting he hadn’t treated his patient for any renal cysts or renal cancer before he was diagnosed in 2011. He also said he didn’t provide any renal treatment for the patient between 2006 and 2012.

A Bronx County judge ruled that the last date of relevant treatment in the case was April 2011, when Woo sent Dookhie for further assessment of a mass on his kidney. That would mean the statute of limitations was up in October 2013, so Brunette’s claim would have been filed outside of the continuous treatment period.

The panel, however, overturned that decision this week, noting Woo treated the patient in July 2012 and wrote a discharge summary admitting he was an end-stage cancer patient who required specialized care.

“Dr. Woo testified that the decedent was hospitalized for failure to thrive attributable ‘[to] the status of his [renal cell] cancer,’” the opinion in the case reads. “Indeed, the decedent died—from renal cell carcinoma—less than one month later. Defendants’ argument that the ‘failure to thrive’ bore no relation to the decedent’s cancer treatment borders on specious.”