Largest Reported NJ Personal Injury Settlement during the Court’s 2022-2023 term

Man’s Lung Cancer Goes Undiagnosed in Wrongful Death Case – $975,000 Settlement

In October of 2008, an elderly man went to two medical practices for treatment, and both failed to see his obvious signs of a lung malignancy. Four years later, our client passed away from lung cancer. Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. Partner Marc C. Saperstein filed a lawsuit on his spouse’s behalf in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, where he proved that the practices had committed medical malpractice by failing to properly diagnose lung cancer in the man’s left lung. Partner Marc C. Saperstein secured our client a $975,000 settlement for his pain, injuries, and suffering.

In 2008, when the client first came to one of the practices for lung and breathing problems, the practice completed a CT scan of his abdomen that showed a nodule in his left lung. They did not refer our client to a medical specialist for the nodule. A year later, when our client’s discomfort continued, they ordered another chest x-ray that confirmed the existence of the nodule.

During this time, our client completed two CT scans at a different practice, which also showed the nodule and its growth. The practicing doctor did not inform our client or the other practice.

Three years later, our client received treatment at the Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. There, the presence of the nodule was finally appreciated and a needle biopsy on it was performed. Soon after, our client underwent removal of the lower lobe of his left lung and courses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A year later, he was diagnosed with large metastatic lesions in his brain and bone-destroying lesions in his spine, and eventually passed way from metastatic lung cancer.

Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. Partner Marc C. Saperstein hired a medical expert to determine liability in this case. The expert opined that the doctors had not met the standard of care by failing to review, acknowledge, and make a clinical decision based on the results of the CT scans. He determined that the doctors should have acted on the results of the scan, and by failing to act, had significantly diminished our client’s prognosis and chance of recovery from his cancer.

Settlements are often limited by the total available insurance coverage. Insurance company adjusters and their lawyers often defend cases by claiming that a client was negligent and could have avoided being injured by arguing comparative negligence on the part of an injured client; or that their pain and suffering was caused by pre-existing medical conditions or prior injuries. Despite those defenses, the Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC lawyers won their client’s injury claim. Each client’s case is unique. Results may differ because of different facts, circumstances and available insurance coverage.

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Medical Glossary

CT Scan: A medical test that uses special X-ray equipment to create detailed pictures of the inside of the body. It helps doctors see the bones, organs, and tissues more clearly to diagnose or monitor certain conditions. During the CT scan, the person lies on a table that moves through a large circular machine while the X-ray machine takes pictures from different angles.

Lung Malignancy: A type of cancer that starts in the lungs, where abnormal cells grow out of control and form tumors. It can be caused by factors like smoking or exposure to harmful substances. Symptoms include persistent coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing, and treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy.

Metastatic Lesion: A spot or growth that has spread from its original location to another part of the body. It happens when cancer cells break away from the primary tumor and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to form new tumors in different organs or tissues. These metastatic lesions can affect the way organs function and may require specific treatments to manage their growth.

Metastatic Lung Cancer: A type of cancer that starts in the lungs and then spreads to other parts of the body. It occurs when cancer cells from the lungs break away and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to form new tumors in distant organs, such as the liver, bones, or brain.

Needle Biopsy: A medical procedure used to collect small samples of tissue or cells from the body for further examination. It is performed by inserting a thin needle into the area of concern, such as a lump or abnormality, to extract a tiny sample. The collected sample is then analyzed by a pathologist to help diagnose or rule out certain diseases, such as cancer.