Radiologists have a very hard job. They have to identify different diseases and problems within the body so that patients can fight them off promptly and effectively. If they do not do their job, patients have little chance of survival. Here are some unfortunate cases where they did not do their job very well:
2014; Massachusetts; $2,000,000 Settlement:
Because the patient in this case was a smoker, he was ordered by his doctors to undergo various CT scans of his body including the area over his abdomen and pelvis. Radiologists reviewed the scans and reported nothing significant. The next year after similar tests different radiologists found a mass in his pancreas that turned out to be pancreatic cancer. Despite aggressive medical treatment following this discovery, the cancer had already spread and could not be contained. He sued the original radiologist for negligence. He argued that because the doctor did not see the cancer he lost a good chance at fighting it and preventing it from metastasizing. They settled out of court for $2,000,000 prior to trial.
2015; New York; $1,600,000 Settlement:
A woman in her mid-sixties went to see doctors at the end of 2010 for her annual checkup. They performed various tests and procedures. One of her screenings involved a check for cancer. Nearly one and a half years later, she discovered that she in fact had breast cancer. The radiologist that worked with her in 2010 failed to see this in her tests. As a result of these events, she had to undergo a double mastectomy. She sued the radiologist and claimed that if the doctor had caught the cancer in 2010 the procedure would have been unnecessary and she could have kept her breasts. The defendant agreed that he should have spotted the cancer but denied that the mastectomy was necessary. However, rather than fight it out in court, both sides agreed to settle for $1,600,000.
2015; Massachusetts; $500,000 Settlement:
The patient in this case was battling lung cancer. As part of her treatment, she was to undergo testing for possible complications and other forms of cancer. During the first CT scan, radiologists noted a mass in her lungs but did nothing other than recommend a follow-up CT scan six months later. At that scan, the same mass was seen by a different radiologist. Again, that doctor decided to do nothing. Six months later, she was dead. Her estate sued the two radiologists for not moving forward with treatment and care when they saw the mass that turned out to be lung cancer. The defendants said that they acted reasonably and that the cancer emerged and developed after they treated the decedent. In typical fashion, without admitting responsibility, they persuaded the plaintiffs to settle rather than go to trial for $500,000.
2014; Illinois; $1,136,111 Jury Award:
The radiologist in this incident prescribed and performed a surgery to correct a patient’s vein malfunction. The technique is known as an embolization procedure. However, the doctor botched the operation and the man suffered nerve damage, muscle ischemia, and atrophy in his right elbow because of it. He sued the radiologist who performed it and stated a claim for negligence. The defendant doctor denied this. He said that he performed to the appropriate standard of care. Also, he denied that the plaintiff’s injuries were to the extent claimed in the complaint. The jury awarded the victim $1,136,111:
- Pain and suffering:
- Medical Costs:
- Lost Wages:
2014; Illinois; $2,700,000 Settlement:
This is a story of persistence. A woman became concerned when she felt a lump in her breasts. She went to see an oncologist who referred her to a radiologist. Both doctors told her she had nothing to worry about and to come back in six months. Three months later, she thought the lump was growing so she contact both doctors again and they assured she had nothing significant to worry about. When she came back for her scheduled appointment six months after the original consultation, doctors found malignant cancer in her breasts. She sued both doctors for malpractice. Her suit alleged that they were negligent in failing to recognize and deal with the cancer and that their negligence reduced her chances of recovery. The only defense that the defendants could seriously muster was that the cancer had already prior to their first meeting but, realizing this would not work, they agreed to settle for $2,700,000.