Case #1115: Lung Cancer
On July 7, the Plaintiff, then 63 years old, presented to the Defendant Hospital for the purpose of undergoing angiography. She was seen by a vascular surgeon who was an employee of the Defendant Hospital. Prior to undergoing the procedure, the Plaintiff was provided with a chest x-ray. The interpreting radiologist (also an employee of the Defendant Hospital), identified a 2 centimeter mass in the infrahilar region of the left lung and recommended CT scan follow-up for further evaluation. Tragically, neither the vascular surgeon, the radiologist nor any other individuals caring for the Plaintiff ever followed up to obtain the necessary CT scan and further negligently failed to ever advise the Plaintiff of the findings on the x-ray. The Plaintiff alleged that the standards of care specifically required the surgeon to follow-up with the necessary studies to rule out the presence of malignancy, which he never did. Further, the Plaintiff alleged that the radiologist had an affirmative obligation to telephone the surgeon to insure that the surgeon knew of the findings on the chest film and followed through with necessary studies to rule out the malignancy.
As a result, the Plaintiff did not learn of the lung malignancy until three years later, when she had a chest x-ray performed following treatment for pneumonia. At that time, the malignancy and the fact that it had grown substantially in the time interval was confirmed. A follow-up CT scan a month later confirmed a chest malignancy approximately 6-centimeters in size. A week and a half later, the Plaintiff underwent bronchoscopy which confirmed the presence of adenocarcinoma. The Plaintiff was subsequently referred to an oncologist and a later MRI confirmed brain metastasis.
The Plaintiff underwent chemotherapy in addition to surgery to remove the metastasis to the brain, and now suffers an ominous prognosis.