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Our Results - 2020

Sep. 2020

Firm obtains $1M settlement in med-mal case involving delayed diagnosis of lung cancer

Jeffrey N. Catalano and Christine R. Thompson obtained a $1 million settlement in a medical malpractice case involving the delayed diagnosis of cancer in a 62-year-old woman’s lung.

On Dec. 4, 2014, a then 62-year-old woman with a long history of heavy smoking went to an urgent care center complaining of a persistent cough and being out of breath.  The PCP ordered a chest x-ray, which the defendant radiologist interpreted as normal. 

She returned eight months later complaining of worsening symptoms.  Another chest x-ray was taken, and a different radiologist detected the tumor that had grown significantly since the December 2014 x-ray.  She was diagnosed with Stage 1B non-small cell lung carcinoma.

On Sept. 15, 2015, she had surgery to remove the tumor.  However, three years later in April 2018, she developed metastatic cancer and died on Nov. 16, 2019.

The plaintiff alleged that the radiologist was negligent in failing to detect a “shadow” in her right lung that was not present in her 2012 chest x-ray and in failing to order a follow-up CT scan.  The plaintiff’s oncology expert opined that due to the delay in diagnosis, the plaintiff suffered a loss of a substantial chance of survival.

The defendant denied that he was negligent and argued that an eight-month delay did not impact her medical course given that she was only Stage IB at the time of diagnosis.  The case settled shortly after the deposition of the defendant.

The plaintiff was retired, unmarried, and had no children.  She donated a substantial part of her settlement to the Dana Farber and Brigham & Women’s Hospital where she was treated for cancer.