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ARTICLE ID 189268

IN FAVOR OF NON-SETTLING ENT PHYSICIAN Medical Malpractice – Otolaryngology – Alleged negligent failure to conduct bedside biopsy before patient discharged by settling oncologist – Five-month delay in diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer – Death of 18-year-old mother.

Richmond County, NY

The plaintiff contended that when the 18-year-old presented with a mass on the neck, the oncologist, who suspected cancer, requested a consult from the non-settling defendant otolaryngologist. The otolaryngologist recommended that a biopsy be conducted by an interventional radiologist either while the patient remained in the hospital over the next several days or on an outpatient basis.

The plaintiff maintained that the non-settling defendant failed to appreciate the necessity for a prompt diagnosis and should have urged that a bedside biopsy be immediately conducted. The oncologist discharged the patient several hours later and the biopsy was not performed. The plaintiff named the oncologist as a defendant and this aspect settled prior to trial for $________.

The cancer was not diagnosed for approximately five months. The plaintiff contended that in the interim, it progressed from Stage III to Stage IV. The patient died shortly after the diagnosis was ultimately made.

The plaintiff contended that had the diagnosis been made in a timely manner, she would have had a much better chance for a successful outcome and that the alleged negligence of the otolaryngologist was a substantial factor in the death. The defendant otolaryngologist maintained that by recommending a biopsy after her consult, she had acted appropriately. The decedent left a son, age 18 months at the time of the death.The jury found that the otolaryngologist was not negligent.

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