Lung Cancer Diagnosis Delay Brings $2.5M Settlement

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Lawsuit claimed misread chest x-ray resulted in 3 year delay in diagnosis of lung cancer

The plaintiff was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 60 in April 2013. She had smoked for 20 years.

On 1/15/10, the plaintiff underwent a chest x-ray for complaints of a cough. The study was interpreted and reported by the radiologist defendant who reported the study as normal.

On 4/16/13, the plaintiff underwent another chest x-ray for complaints of a cough. The study showed an approximately 6 cm x 8 cm right mass in the anterior segment of the right upper lobe, an ill-defined pleural shaped opacity superior lateral to this, and a fullness of the right hilum, right paratracheal area, and subcarinal area, suggestive of adenopathy.

On 4/18/13, the plaintiff underwent CT of the thorax with intravenous contrast. The study demonstrated a 72 x 43 mm right upper lobe mass indicating non-small cell lung cancer, which was invading into the mediastinum medially. There was a 28 x 19 mm right hilar lymph node. There was a 13 mm lymph node in the right pretracheal station. No sigifnicant lymph node was seen in the left mediastinum.

A subsequent PET scan revealed an intensely FDG avid right upper lung mass, invading the mediastinum, with an FDG avid right hilar node and right pretracheal node. Also present was an FDG avid focus in the anterior right parietal lobe, correlating with findings of a small enhancing lesion on MR, suspicious for metastatic disease. There was a focus of relative FDG avidity in the caudate lobe of the liver, with no clear CT correlate.

A brain MRI performed on 4/24/13 revealed a single lesion in the anterior right parietal lobe measuring 4 mm in size with surrounding brain edema. It was noted to be suspicious for metastatic disease. On 5/15/13, the plaintiff underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to her brain lesion. On 5/21/13, she started chest radiation.

On 5/22/13, she began cisplatin and pemetrexed chemotherapy. At the time of settlement, there was no known recurrence.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant misread the 1/15/10 chest x-ray resulting in a 3 year delay in diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer. As a result, the plaintiff will more likely than not suffer a premature and preventable death as the direct result of this delayed diagnosis. The defendant contended that the study was properly read and that there was no deviation from the standard of care.

The case settled prior to trial for $2,500,000.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and William J. Thompson represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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