A family in Concord, New Hampshire whose daughter passed away from the effects of an undiagnosed brain tumor has filed a lawsuit against four medical groups and three doctors who all failed to uncover the malignant condition. The 13-year-old, Molly Banzhoff, suffered from months of symptoms characterizing a pediatric brain tumor and multiple hospitalizations before her heart finally stopped.
The illness began in February of 2016 when Molly visited Concord Pediatrics complaining of severe headaches, and was told to come back if the symptoms got worse or new symptoms developed. In April, she returned to the same center with new symptoms: weeks of pounding headaches, nausea, vomiting, and “squiggly lines” at the edge of her vision. She was diagnosed with migraines and sent away.
About a week later, Molly returned, now complaining of the same symptoms plus a new numbness in her tongue. The doctor, Dolly Courtemanche, gave her anti-nausea medication and diagnosed her with sinusitis.
Things took a sharp turn for the worse on May 1, when Molly awoke to the same pounding headaches and vomiting. She then went to the Concord Hospital Emergency Department, where another doctor, Elizabeth Hoffman, prescribed new medication and ordered an MRI to be done at a later date, instead of an immediate CT scan to image the brain.
The following day, Molly was evaluated by yet another pediatrician, Dr. Joseph Toshach, who recommended observation and attributed her symptoms to her medication and lack of sleep. That night she “needed two people to help her get to the bathroom…leaning heavily on Higgins, walking with her eyes closed and swaying while her mother tried to help her sit on the toilet,” the lawsuit alleges.
Molly became unresponsive, but Dr. Toshach believed that she was exaggerating her condition and again declined to order an emergent CT scan. The lawsuit states that, “Rather than order diagnostic testing to rule out the most dangerous possible cause of Molly’s symptoms, a brain tumor, the defendants either assumed Molly was faking it or that the most benign possible cause was the source of her symptoms.”
That same night, Molly stopped breathing during the insertion of a catheter, and her heart stopped while her family watched. The CT scan was finally ordered after resuscitation, and a large brain tumor was found which had been exerting pressure on her brain and causing irreversible damage. She never woke up.
Molly, a seventh grader at Rundlett Middle School, was honored by the town through a community musical tribute performance entitled “Molly B: The Musical.” The family is suing the four medical institutions and three doctors involved for wrongful death. The suit alleges that Molly repeatedly displayed the “classic signs of a pediatric brain tumor,” which should have been caught, preventing the unnecessary death.
If you or a loved one has suffered the consequences of a misdiagnosis or improper medical care, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.