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Trial Victory for Pulmonologist

Pretzel & Stouffer partners, Brian T. Henry and Michael A. Barry, successfully defended a pulmonologist against a wrongful death claim by the family of a woman who alleged that the defendant failed to timely diagnose the decedent’s lung cancer, which later spread to the decedent’s brain and caused her death. At trial, the plaintiff contended that given the characteristics of the lung nodule, the location of the nodule in the lung, and the patient’s smoking history, the standard of care required the defendant to recommend surgical removal of the nodule. The defense argued that the defendant acted in compliance with recommendations for monitoring single pulmonary nodules and complied with the standard of care by offering the decedent the options of monitoring the lung nodule with diagnostic imaging or the referral to a surgeon. The patient’s choice to monitor the nodule was reasonable as there were several factors that supported the nodule is benign, including the low sugar uptake as seen on a PET scan and the lack of growth of the nodule over a span of three months. The plaintiff requested over $6 million in damages but the jury found in favor of the pulmonologist and awarded no money to the decedent’s family.

January 2018 | Firm News