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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Couple sues GW Hospital, MFA alleging doctor failed to prevent Stage 3 cancer

File Photo by Arielle Bader | Assistant Photo Editor
Three Medical Faculty Associates surgeons – the chief of the spine section of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, a cardiothoracic surgeon and a neurosurgeon – earned more than $1 million in fiscal year 2018.

A couple is suing the GW Hospital and Medical Faculty Associates, alleging a doctor failed to identify a tumor that led to the husband’s diagnosis with Stage 3 cancer two years ago.

In a 13-page complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court last week, Eugene Miller Jr. and his wife Lajuan Miller allege Showcat Bashir violated national care standards when he overlooked a cancerous mass during a colonoscopy in 2016. The lawsuit states the couple is suing for $5 million on two counts because Bashir failed to diagnose and cure Miller’s cancer before it reached Stage 3 and “interrupted” his marriage.

“The severe, unremitting pain from which the Claimant, Eugene Miller Jr., suffers as well as the permanent disability sustained as a result of the negligence of these Defendants, has permanently interrupted and damaged the Claimant’s marriage,” the lawsuit states.

Bashir, GW Hospital spokeswoman Susan Griffiths and MFA spokeswoman Barbara Porter did not return requests for comment. Eugene and Lajuan Miller could not be reached for comment.

The complaint states Bashir treated Miller during a colonoscopy appointment in February 2016, but the doctor only found tubular adenoma – a benign, non-life-threatening, group of intestinal cells. Miller returned to the hospital again two months later and reported intestinal problems like indigestion, and Bashir sent Miller home with instructions to continue taking his regular medication, according to the complaint.

After Miller returned to the hospital again in 2018, Bashir noticed a new mass infected with a stomach ulcer – an intestinal sore – which pathology reports found to be malignant Stage 3 rectal cancer, the complaint states. The lawsuit states doctors noted the cancer as a “poorly differentiated” growth of tissue in the rectum, located in the intestines.

Miller alleges Bashir would have discovered the cancer when it was in Stage 1 in 2016 and cured him if Bashir sent a report of the ulcerated mass to a pathologist who studies bodily tissue. The lawsuit states that Miller experiences continuous waste leakage through an ileostomy – which surgically opens the skin to an intestinal tube to release bodily waste – and now faces a decreased chance of survival with a greater risk of getting cancer a second time.

“As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of Defendant Bashir, the Plaintiff has suffered unending physical pain, emotional anguish, fear, anxiety and all of injuries and damages set forth above,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit states Miller must continue to live through ongoing financial losses from hospital treatment, surgery, therapy and pharmaceuticals that his cancer treatment necessitated. Miller and his wife allege that the health complications and added expenses following Miller’s treatment also damaged their marriage.

“Had the Defendants acted within the national standards of care, all of the injuries and damages sustained by the Plaintiff would have been avoided,” the complaint states.

In 2018, Miller underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy between March and April and received a resection, a surgical tissue removal, in July, which helped eliminate all traces of cancer by November 2019, according to the complaint.

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