MARTINSBURG – A woman claims her husband's doctor misdiagnosed a lump in her husband's groin, which turned out to be a quick-spreading cancer.

Frances Smith, individually at as representative of the estate of Russell Smith, filed a lawsuit March 17 in Berkeley Circuit Court against Dr. D. Ewell Hendricks.

The plaintiff says Russell went to see Dr. Hendricks on Nov. 20, 2003, complaining of a lump in his groin. Hendricks said it was a hernia. Russell elected to wait to have surgery, the complaint said.

On April 15, 2005, Hendricks again examined Russell, but did not notice any signs of the hernia or sarcoma, the complaint says.

Russell was examined again at City Hospital in Martinsburg in February 2006, the complaint says. Physicians there noted that the lump had increased in size and was occasionally producing bleeding.

Russell was sent to West Virginia University where he underwent an MRI and biopsy, which gave physicians the suspicion of cancer.

On April 11, 2006, Russell had the mass removed and began radiation therapy. But in August 2006, physicians found the cancer had spread to his lungs.

In September 2006, Russell went to City Hospital because he was having seizures, the complaint says. Doctors determined that the cancer had spread to his brain. He continued on radiation therapy and pain management.

Later that month, Russell was transferred from City Hospital to HCR Manor Care, a hospice facility.

Russell died on Nov. 19, 2006.

D. Michael Burke and Barry J. Nace are representing the plaintiff.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number: 09-C-225

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