Our client was a farmer who was gored by a charging bull. That episode fractured his ribs and he was treated at North Hills Passavant Hospital. Upon discharge, he was administered a chest x-ray. The radiologist noted an incidental finding of a spot on his lung and suggested that this spot be followed with further diagnostic testing for lung cancer. Amazingly, this x-ray report and recommendation for follow-up was never sent to the patient’s primary care physician and remained in his hospital chart, unread for years.
Our client was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer and it was not until that diagnosis that the previous chest x-ray was read. By that time, the tumor metastasized to mediastinal lymph nodes and the brain, rendering it incurable. Unfortunately, this negligently caused delay in diagnosis eliminated any possibility that our client had to be cured.
Suit was filed against North Hills Passavant Hospital, the radiologist, and our client’s primary care physician.
During discovery, the primary care physician testified in his deposition with absolute certainty that he was never told about this x-ray report. In his deposition, the radiologist testified with the same certainty that he specifically recalled a telephone conversation with the primary care physician where he told the PCP to follow-up on this x-ray.
Unusually, all of the Defendants agreed upon a substantial settlement amount just before the commencement of trial; and the Defendants tried their case before a jury and asked a jury to determine which of the Defendants were liable. The jury was simply told that there had been a settlement so they were not required to determine the amount of compensation.