An expert witness called by the defense attorneys for the two University Health Services (UHS) doctors accused of malpractice testified yesterday that cancer patient Gena Glicklich "was in the same stage" before and during her treatment at UHS.
Defense attorneys contended that if Glicklich's cancer had already spread to her brain by the time doctors first saw her, then an earlier diagnosis would not have made any difference. Glicklich's doctors expect her to survive about nine more months.
Dr Richard E. Wilson, chief of oncology for Brigham and Women's Hospital, told a Middlesex Superior Court jury that when Dr. Alan R. Spievack first saw Glicklich at UHS, she was in the same condition she had been in "before ever walking into an office."
Glicklich is suing Spievack and Dr. Jennifer Jones of UHS and Dr. Joan Golub, her private physician, for alleged failure to diagnose a cancerous tumor. She contends her doctors led her to believe she was suffering from noncancerous cysts and did not advise her to have a biopsy.
When Glicklich finally had a biopsy in July, 1979--three months after seeing Spievack and 11 months after she first noticed a lump in her right breast -the tumor had grown from one to ten centimeters and was then inoperable, her attorney said.
The defense claims that the lump found by Spievack in April, 1979, had disappeared when Glicklich was reexamined by Dr. Herbert B. Hechtman, associate professor of Surgery and a surgeon at UHS, in June of that year. That indicates that the lump Spievack reported was noncancerous, defense attorney Raymond J. Kenney Jr., said yesterday.
Kenney also referred to a study by the American Cancer Society which showed that the number of women who die from breast cancer per 100,000 women in America has remained constant for the past 25 years. When Kenney asked Wilson if those data show that improved methods of diagnosis and treatment have been futile, the cancer specialist said that they did not.
Under cross-examination by Clyde Bergstresser, Glicklich's attorney, Wilson explained that improved techniques have reduced the mortality rate, although the number of women who get breast cancer per 100,000 women has risen sharply.
The trial of Speivack vs. Glicklich et al, is expected to last another three to six weeks, court officials have said. Opening statements began last Tuesday, and the court will reconvene Monday at 10 a.m