Lung Cancer Diagnosis Delay: $1.2 Million Settlement

2018 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Radiologist's failure to identify and report lung mass delayed diagnosis and treament of women's stage IV lung cancer

The plaintiff’s decedent was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer with metastasis to the brain in June 2012 and died on January 22, 2014.

On 11/22/10, the decedent was sent for chest x-ray for complaints of a cough. The study was interpreted by the defendant who noted that the heart and lungs were unremarkable. Plaintiff’s expert radiologist reviewed the same study and was prepared to testify that it showed an approximate 2.5 cm mass in the right upper lobe which was not identified or reported by the defendant. Based on these findings, the decedent should have had further imaging with either an apical view chest x-ray or a CT scan of the chest and her lung cancer would have been diagnosed at an earlier stage with better opportunity for treatment and cure.

Instead, on 5/31/12, the decedent was sent for another chest x-ray due to complaints of shoulder and chest pain and pleurisy. The study was again interpreted by the defendant who now noted a 4.2 cm x 3.4 cm rounded mass overlying the right upper lobe/anterior first rib. He recommended a CT scan of the chest with contrast. Plaintiff’s expert was prepared to testify that the mass seen in 2012 was in the same location as the mass seen in the prior x-ray but not reported upon by the defendant. The expert was prepared to testify that this was the same mass that had increased significantly in size.

Other recent lung cancer cases:

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Missed cancer xray photoA missed cancer case is often referred to as a "failure to diagnosis" or a "delay in diagnosis" of cancer, and is one of the most common reasons patients file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Learn more: How To Determine Medical Malpractice in Cancer Cases

See more: Cancer verdicts and settlements.

A chest CT performed the following day confirmed the mass with erosion of several ribs. MRI of the spine and brain revealed findings consistent with metastatic spread of her malignancy. She was given a diagnosis of Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer and treated accordingly; however, she passed away in January 2014 leaving behind 3 minor children.

The parties agreed to mediation and the parties were able to resolve the matter for $1,200,000 prior to trial.

Attorneys for the plaintiff: Andrew C. Meyer Jr. and Krysia J. Syska represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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