$3M Verdict for Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Victim

A Jefferson County, Pa., woman has been awarded $3 million in damages by a jury for a negligence claim against a doctor who failed to diagnose her cancer on a timely basis, which led to her disease progressing for more than four years.

The victim, Katherine Palar, had gone to Punxsutawney Hospital in March 2009 for an MRI on her spine, where a doctor, Dr. John Wohlwend, viewed the images and allegedly did not report the sighting of a mass in the right upper lobe of Palar’s lung, according to a Nov. 24 story in The Legal Intelligencer. The following month Wohlwend did a second MRI and again did not report the visible mass, which had grown, the story reported.

In September 2013, the plaintiff, who continued to not feel well due to a worsening cough, had a chest X-ray which was read by another physician, Dr. Kamal Khalaf, the story reported. “Khalaf reported a 4.5-centimeter mass, which was confirmed by a follow-up CT scan,” after which the victim was diagnosed with stage IIIA non-small cell carcinoma of the lung, according to a plaintiff’s memo. After the diagnosis, Palar underwent radiation and chemotherapy, which have resulted in burns on her back and internal scarring and damage, the story reported. She also has lost 50 pounds because of the treatment and was deemed not to be a candidate for surgery, according to a plaintiff’s memo.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/courtneyk

During a trial before Judge John H. Foradora.in the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas in November, the jury found each of the doctors 50 percent negligent and awarded damages for past and future noneconomic losses suffered by the victim, the story reported.

The $3 million verdict, which exceeded the $2 million that was originally sought by the victim, is believed to be the largest ever reported in Jefferson County, according to the report.

An expert witness for the plaintiff, Dr. Ronald H. Blum of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, told the court during the trial that “if Palar’s cancer had been diagnosed in 2009, she would have had an approximately 70 percent chance of survival,” the story reported. Instead, the delayed diagnosis “left her with a 25 percent chance of survival.”

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask.

That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical errors or omissions during their treatment. These kinds of cases happen on a regular basis, but they can be fought by legal teams that are prepared to battle for their clients’ rights all along the way to a fair settlement or to a just verdict.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a similar medical malpractice, birth injury or related case anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.