$1.25 Million Recovered for Failing to Diagnose Lung Cancer

Delay in Cancer Diagnosis, Failure to Diagnose

The widow of a 75-year old male recovered $1,250,000 for the 12-month delay in the diagnosis of lung cancer in Ulster County, New York.

12 months before being diagnosed with lung cancer, the 75-year old patient underwent a chest x-ray prior to a minor operation at the Kingston Hospital. The chest x-ray was interpreted as negative.

1 year later, the patient began having respiratory symptoms and a series of tests consisting of a chest x-ray, CT scan of the chest and bronchoscopy (a procedure that lets doctors look at the lungs and air passages) led to the diagnosis of lung cancer. Tragically, the lung cancer had spread to the patient’s brain and 19 months later, the patient died. The patient was survived by his widow and 17-year old son.

A Surprising Twist to the Story

Following her husband’s death, the widow requested the images from the chest x-ray that had been performed 1 year before the diagnosis.  The Kingston Hospital refused to provide the images to the widow over the course of 6 months. Finally, after many unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the images, the widow had to sue the Kingston Hospital and its medical records retrieval company, CIOX, just to get the images from the chest x-ray.

The images from the chest x-ray revealed that there was an irregular, 2.5 centimeter mass in the patient’s upper lobe of his right lung that was highly suspicious for malignancy.  The mass should have warranted further evaluation, including a CT scan of the chest and bronchoscopy.  However, due to the radiologist’s failure to correctly interpret the chest x-ray, the patient never received the testing and treatment that he needed.

The failure to diagnose lung cancer led to the spread of cancer and diminished the likelihood of the patient’s survival.