During mid-April 2015,VThe wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit filed against a Roanoke, Virginia-based medical facility and a physician’s office alleged that the man’s chest x-rays taken in 2009 and 2010 as part of the pre-operative clearance process for the man’s two knee operations showed a possible mass in his left lung but he was not advised of such until a CT scan of his chest in February 2011 showed that he had advanced stage lung cancer. The man died on June 3, 2011.
The man’s saga started in 2008, when he decided to have his left knee replaced. The surgeon requested that the man ask his primary care physician to perform a pre-operative examination and testing, including a chest x-ray, to insure that the man was healthy enough for the surgery. One year later, when the man decided to have his right knee replaced, the man had another chest x-ray performed as part of the pre-operative clearance.
The family’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the chest x-ray performed in 2009 and the chest x-ray performed in 2010 both showed a mass in his left lung, which the radiologist’s report recommended be further evaluated. The medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that neither the surgeon nor the man’s primary care physician followed up on the results of the chest x-rays.
The surgeon and primary care physician claimed that neither one of them was liable for failing to advise the man regarding the findings of the chest x-rays, due to an irregularity that happened at the time of the chest x-rays: the primary care physician had ordered the first chest x-ray at the surgeon’s request but when the man appeared for the chest x-ray at the pre-op testing center in January 2009, an employee at the center allegedly canceled the primary care physician’s order and immediately replaced that order with an order from the surgeon, resulting in the primary care physician never receiving the results of the chest x-ray and the surgeon receiving the chest x-ray results but not knowing that the x-ray order had been placed in his name. The same thing happened the following year, when the man had surgery on his right knee.
The surgeon’s lawyer argued that the surgeon was not responsible to review or act on the chest x-rays findings. The primary care physician’s attorney argued that the primary care physician could not be held responsible because he never received the results of the chest x-rays.
The plaintiff’s attorney argued that both the surgeon and the primary care physician knew or should have known of the chest x-rays results and both were responsible to follow up regarding the findings, despite the confusion caused by the manner in which the chest x-rays orders were entered in the clinic’s system. In November 2014, a judge denied the physicians’ requests to be dismissed from the case.
The $1.3 million medical malpractice wrongful death settlement approved by the Virginia court provided that the man’s widow and their two children will receive $784,505 from the settlement, with the balance paid to their attorneys for legal fees and expenses.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of the misdiagnosis of cancer in Virginia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Virginia medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you in a cancer medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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