Dental Malpractice Lawsuit Filed Over Failure to Diagnose Cancer

A medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against two Chicago dentists after they allegedly failed to diagnose cancer on the tongue and mouth of a patient.

The complaint was filed in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County, by Georgie Anne Geyer, a nationally syndicated political columnist, alleging that Dr. Jeffrey Taugner and Dr. Daniel I. Chin, Jr. failed to diagnose a lesion on the side of her tongue as cancer in August 2006.

According to the dental malpractice lawsuit, Geyer first went to Dr. Taugner because of a white, painful lesion on her tongue. She was then referred to Dr. Chin who performed a biopsy.

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A pathology report indicated that she had a common skin disease, but by fall of 2007, the lesions had spread to other parts of Geyer’s mouth. A subsequent biopsy revealed that she had T3 squamous cell carcinoma, which had spread to her lymph nodes. Geyer has undergone extensive surgery to remove the cancerous regions and now has difficulty speaking.

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for more than 90% of all head and neck cancers. It is most commonly associated with people who use alcohol or tobacco, but exposure to gas and paint fumes, asbestos, plastic products and wood dust have also been suspected of increasing the risk of contracting the disease. Surgical removal of the affected areas is the most common and successful form of treatment.

Geyer’s columns run in 120 newspapers around the world. She has written several books, including a biography of Fidel Castro, Guerilla Prince, and in 1973 was the first western reporter to interview Saddam Hussein, then vice-president of Iraq. Geyer’ life was the adapted into the 1990s sitcom, Hearts Afire.


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