On November 13, 2015, a Jefferson County, Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $3 million for past and future noneconomic damages in favor of a woman whose lung cancer went undiagnosed for four years due to alleged medical negligence by two physicians who were each held 50% responsible for the failure to report a mass on the plaintiff’s lung that was seen on an MRI in March 2009.
The plaintiff had an MRI of her spine at a local Pennsylvania hospital that one of the defendant physicians interpreted as showing a small cystic lesion next to her spine but failed to report the mass in the right upper lobe of her lung that was also shown on the MRI. The defendant recommended a follow up MRI for the cyst, which was performed in April 2009. The same defendant interpreted an April 2009 MRI but again failed to report the lung mass which by then was 2.2 centimeters by 1.8 centimeters.
The plaintiff experienced a worsening cough that led her to have a chest x-ray in September 2013. The other defendant physician interpreted the x-ray and reported a 4.5 centimeter mass. A follow up CT scan confirmed the mass. The plaintiff was diagnosed with stage IIIA non-small cell carcinoma of the lung.
The treatment for the plaintiff’s lung cancer included radiation therapy and chemotherapy. As a result of the cancer treatment, the plaintiff suffered burns on her back, internal scarring, other internal damage, and lost fifty pounds.
The defendant physician who interpreted the chest x-ray admitted liability, admitting that he could have been more prudent when he reviewed the plaintiff’s x-rays in 2010 and in 2012.
The defendant who failed to report the lung mass shown in the MRI alleged that the MRIs of the woman’s spine were not used to view her lungs and that he did not pay attention to the plaintiff’s lungs in the MRI.
The plaintiff alleged that the delay in diagnosing her lung cancer allowed the cancer to progress from stage IA to stage IIIA, and that had she been properly diagnosed in 2009, her chance of survival would have been 70% but the delay in diagnosing her lung cancer reduced her chance of survival to 25%.
The $3 million verdict consisted of $1.5 million for past noneconomic damages and $1.5 million for future noneconomic damages. The pre-trial settlement demand was $2 million but the defense made no settlement offer. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice trial lasted four days after which the jury deliberated for about one hour.
C.P. Jefferson No. 123-2014.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of the misdiagnosis of cancer in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly consult with a Pennsylvania malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state, who may investigate your cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you in a cancer malpractice case, if appropriate.
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