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Murv Pretorius and Matt Smith (Second Chair) Trial Victory

Trial Victory  – Murv Pretorius and Matt Smith (second chair)

The deceased’s primary care physician referred him to the Defendant gastroenterologist for evaluation of anemia.  The Defendant gastroenterologist performed an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy.  About six weeks later, he obtained a small bowel series.  All tests were negative.  The Defendant gastroenterologist recommended to the primary care physician that he prescribe iron and return the patient for more testing if there was no change.  Thereafter, the deceased allegedly continued with anemia.  He saw his primary care physician four or five more times in the following year.  The deceased never returned to see the gastroenterologist.  The deceased was subsequently diagnosed with a Stage 3 colon cancer found in the cecum, that measured 6.5cm x 6cm x 3.5cm.  The deceased subsequently died from the cancer.

The defense contended that the gastroenterologist performed a proper colonoscopy and that the colonscopy has a known false negative rate of 6 plus percent.  Further, the defense contended that there were no further tests indicated at the time of the original testing.  Had the patient returned to the gastroenterologist, the gastroenterologist would have performed additional tests to determine the cause of the anemia, which in retrospect probably was the tumor.  Following a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict for the Defendant doctor.


Originally published in the Fall 2009 edition of Quinn Quarterly.

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