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Cancer threat uncovered during second test: $453,000 verdict

By: South Carolina Lawyers Weekly staff//October 18, 2023//

Cancer threat uncovered during second test: $453,000 verdict

By: South Carolina Lawyers Weekly staff//October 18, 2023//

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Action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Basal cell carcinoma

Case name: Phillip C. Allison and Laura J. Allison v. ADCS Clinics LLC (d/b/a Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, f/k/a Westside Dermatology

Court: Spartanburg County Circuit Court

Judge: Judge Derham Cole

Demand: $135,000

Highest offer: $35,000

Amount: $453,919.47

Trial date: Sept. 18-21, 2023

Attorneys: Brink Hinson and Christina Brown of HHP Law Group and Ryan Langley of Hodge & Langley (for the plaintiff); David Williford and Tim Maio of Huff Powell Bailey (for the defendant)


The plaintiff went to a dermatologist in 2018 with a small lesion on the right side of his nose. Per the medical record, the appearance of the lesion was a classic presentation of basal cell carcinoma. The health care provider, a physician assistant, did a biopsy; a few days later, the pathology report came back as “serum crust with parakeratosis,” the medical term for a scab.

At his next appointment, the plaintiff was told by another health care provider, an advanced practice registered nurse, that the pathology results had come back as benign, and that the results were entered into his chart as “benign skin.”

Over the next two years, the lesion worsened. The plaintiff then went to another dermatologist, who did a biopsy that was interpreted as basal cell carcinoma.

The plaintiff required a Mohs procedure to remove the skin cancer. This procedure resulted in a large defect in the skin on the plaintiff’s nose and required a three-stage plastic surgery to repair, which was relatively successful.

The plaintiff’s counsel argued that the pathology report was inconclusive, and that the plaintiff should have been provided a complete picture of what the report really meant and given the option of having a second biopsy performed. The counsel asserted that had this occurred, the plaintiff would have opted for a second biopsy, basal cell carcinoma would have been diagnosed two years sooner, and his skin cancer would have been addressed when it was small and would not have needed plastic surgery to repair.

The defense asserted that the health care providers didn’t deviate from the standard of care, claimed that no one could say for certain that the patient had skin cancer in 2018, and, even if he did have cancer back in 2018, that the ultimate outcome would have been the same. The defense also tried to blame the plaintiff for not promptly coming back to see a dermatologist when the lesion worsened.

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