A Baltimore medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in excess of $460,000 in favor of the wife and six adult children of a 79-year-old man whose lung cancer was misdiagnosed for years until it was at stage IV. The man died two years after he was finally diagnosed, which was five years after a routine screening chest CT scan showed an abnormality in the upper lobe of his right lung.
The Baltimore medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the suspicious area shown on the screening CT scan should have led to an earlier diagnosis that would have resulted in the man being diagnosed and treated for lung cancer years earlier, which would have avoided his untimely death.
The Baltimore medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the man’s primary care physician, two radiologists, and the hospital where the man had the screening CT scan in November 2005. The results of the CT scan were sent by letter to the man’s primary care physician with the recommendation that the man have yearly scans, but the primary care physician never discussed the results of the screening CT scan or the annual screening recommendation with his patient.
Two years before the man’s lung cancer diagnosis was made, the man had a chest x-ray in preparation for undergoing an unrelated surgical procedure in which the abnormality in his upper right lung was again noted, and the man’s primary care physician was notified of the finding but the primary care physician failed to follow up, as recommended. The Baltimore medical malpractice wrongful death plaintiffs alleged that had the man’s lung cancer been properly diagnosed and treated prior to July 2008, the cancer would have been at stage one and the man would have been cured of his lung cancer after undergoing surgery.
The Baltimore medical malpractice wrongful death trial lasted nine days after which the Baltimore medical malpractice jury deliberated for about five hours on May 18, 2017 before finding the defendant primary care physician liable for $300,000 in noneconomic damages ($75,000 awarded to the man’s wife, $75,000 awarded to the man’s estate, and $25,000 awarded to each of the man’s six children) and $161,862.12 in economic damages.
The Baltimore medical malpractice jury determined that the defendant hospital and the two defendant radiologists who read the original screening CT scan were not liable, despite the defendant hospital’s protocol that required that a letter be sent to both the patient and his primary care physician approximately ten months after the initial screening to remind them to schedule an annual follow up, which the hospital allegedly failed to do.
Source Estate of Carl W. Palmer v. E. Timothy Souweine, M.D., Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Case No. 03C13008118.
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