On January 22, 2018, an Alabama medical malpractice jury returned its verdict against the defendant pulmonologist in an Alabama medical malpractice case that alleged that the defendant negligently failed to diagnose a man’s lung cancer, which killed him after it was diagnosed too late. The Alabama medical malpractice jury trial lasted one week after which the jury awarded the plaintiff $1 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages.
The Underlying Facts
At the time the man was hospitalized in February 2008 for pneumonia, a chest CT scan was performed that the reviewing radiologists reported as showing abnormalities. Despite the CT scan findings, the defendant pulmonologist allegedly failed to further investigate the abnormalities.
Then, in April 2008, the decedent had a second chest CT scan that the reviewing radiologists reported as showing the abnormalities, particularly in the man’s left lung. The radiologists expressed their concern that the abnormalities were cancerous and recommended that the man follow up with his pulmonlogist. The defendant pulmonologist discharged the man from his care after the follow-up appointment, without further workup for the abnormalities noted on the chest CT scans.
The man had a third chest CT scan in November 2010 that showed that he had metastatic lung cancer that had spread from his left lung to his right lung, and to his hips, ribs, and bones. The man died from metastatic lung cancer disease on July 15, 2011.
The Alabama medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant pulmonologist was negligent by failing to timely diagnose and treat the man’s lung cancer at an earlier time that would have made a difference in the outcome.
After the Alabama medical malpractice jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded the substantial damages, the plaintiffs’ Alabama medical malpractice lawyer stated, “This case shows a blatant disregard for the minimum standard of care from [the defendant pulmonologist]. If this physician would have simply erred on the side of caution and patient safety, this cancer could have been treated. Instead, we have a widow who is grieving for her husband of 51 years.”
According to a medical article published in February 2017, “[l]ung cancer accounts for 1.59 million deaths per year worldwide. It has one of the poorest survival outcomes of all cancers, with over two-thirds of patients diagnosed at an advanced stage, when curative treatment is no longer feasible. Early diagnosis of lung cancer is the main goal to improve survival. Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at an operable stage have higher survival rates than those presenting with metastatic disease, with five-year survival of 71%–77% for stage IA and 58% for stage IB.”
“Missed lung cancer is a source of concern among radiologists and an important medicolegal challenge. In 90% of the cases, errors in diagnosis of lung cancer occur on chest radiographs.”
If you or a loved one may be the victim of cancer misdiagnosis in Alabama or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with an Alabama medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a cancer malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with cancer malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you.
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