Health Care

Jury: Oncologist not negligent in treating patient with radiation

Jorge Wong, a radiation oncologist with Central Care Cancer Center, was not negligent when he gave radiation treatments to a patient who may or may not have had cancer, a jury decided Friday.

Wong was sued in Sedgwick County District Court by Nancy Funk of North Newton, who received 15 treatments of radiation therapy from Wong in early 2010.

“I don’t think anyone can say they didn’t have their day in court,” said presiding Judge Warren Wilbert after closing statements on Friday.

In summer 2009, Funk noticed a 3-millimeter-by-1-millimeter red spot on the inside of her left lower eyelid when she was putting in her contact lenses. Although it did not cause any symptoms, she went to get it checked out.

Funk was informed that a pathology report on the spot was “strongly suspicious” of MALT lymphoma – a rare, slow-moving cancer. Another test done by the Mayo Clinic that can determine if cells are malignant was negative. It has a roughly 25 percent false negative rate.

Funk’s doctors, including Wong, recommended going ahead with radiation treatment.

Funk was encouraged to file the lawsuit after getting a second opinion from Michael Cannon, an oncologist with Cancer Center of Kansas, who told her the radiation treatments should have never been done and that there was no definitive diagnosis based on the pathology reports.

Wong practices in Newton and Emporia, according to the Central Care Cancer Center website.

“We have a great system, but unfortunately somebody has to win and somebody has to lose,” said Wong’s attorney, Brian Wright of Great Bend, after the verdict was read.

The jury did not award any damages for medical expenses or non-economic losses for Funk.

“We greatly appreciate the jury’s hard work and effort and reserve any other comments due to other post-verdict proceedings,” said Blake Shuart, an attorney with Hutton and Hutton, who represented Funk.

Shuart did not say whether or not they will appeal the verdict.

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