On October 28, 2015, a Philadelphia medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $1.4 million in a failure to diagnosis cancer case. The plaintiff alleged that his rare form of cancer (osteosarcoma) in his right knee remained negligently undiagnosed from when he first complained about knee pain to the defendant orthopedic surgeon in 2006, at which time a mass in the plaintiff’s knee evidently was visible in x-rays but no additional tests were ordered to diagnose the mass.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice wrongful death jury determined that the defendant orthopedic surgeon was 80% liable and one of the three defendant radiologists was 20% liable to the man’s estate and the plaintiff’s son for the survival claim and the wrongful death claim. The Philadelphia medical malpractice jury awarded $800,000 for the wrongful death claim and $600,000 for the survival claim after it determined that the man’s doctors had negligently failed to order additional tests to diagnose the mass on his knee, ultimately leading to his death from the rare form of cancer in 2014 at the age of 56: the man’s cancer remained undiagnosed for five years after which he survived for only three years following the cancer diagnosis.
The defendant orthopedic surgeon had performed an arthroplasty on the man’s right knee in December 2006 and subsequently obtained post-surgery x-rays to confirm that the arthroplasty was in the right place. The plaintiff’s medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the two defendants who were found liable by the jury had observed irregular calcifications in the man’s right knee but failed to follow up with regard to the finding. Once the man’s cancer was diagnosed in 2011, it was found to be in the same location as shown in the 2006 x-rays, according to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawsuit.
The man’s cancer was finally diagnosed by biopsy in August 2011 after a CT scan earlier that month showed a mass that was thought to be osteosarcoma (the man had sought treatment at a medical facility in July 2011, for right knee pain and a lump behind his right knee).
The defense argued that osteosarcoma is very rare and the manner in which it presented in the plaintiff was even more so. The defense questioned whether the cancer was in the man’s knee at the time of the surgery in 2006 and also argued that the plaintiff had failed to obtain a recommended MRI following the initial surgery and that the defendant radiologist was not required to comment on the incidental finding of the irregular calcification, especially since the purpose of the post-surgical x-rays was to confirm the correct placement of the arthroplasty.
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 medical 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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