Patient Not Informed of Abnormal Chest X-ray, Dies from Lung Cancer

August 22, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​A $1 million verdict has been returned in the case of an alleged failure to note an abnormal chest x-ray and the patient's subsequent death from lung cancer, according to according to a report (login required) from the July 2014 Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements, and Experts. The 64-year-old patient saw her primary care physician for a workup in preparation for cataract surgery. Because the patient had a history of smoking and "presumed" chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, the primary care physician also referred the patient to a pulmonologist. A chest x-ray performed after the patient saw the pulmonologist showed a suspicious nodule. At that time, the report was sent to the primary care physician, who had ordered the x-ray, but not the pulmonologist. The pulmonologist saw the patient again and then scheduled her for another visit. The abnormal x-ray was attached to the outside of the patient's chart for review at the scheduled visit, but the patient missed the appointment.

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