Med Mal Team Obtains Defense Verdict in Lung Cancer Claim

By: GDLD | 9.1.13 | Case Results

On September 13, 2013, a Circuit Court jury in Frederick County returned a verdict in favor of pathologists represented by Craig B. Merkle and Michael J. Wasicko.  In the case of Moore v. Rock, the plaintiffs alleged that a fine needle biopsy was misdiagnosed as representing lung cancer, resulting in removal of the right middle lobe of the lung and severe emotional distress. The pathology from the surgery to remove the mass unexpectedly showed that the plaintiff did not have lung cancer, but instead had an unusual condition called cryptogenic organizing pneumonitis (COP). The defense established that the plaintiff was at extremely high risk for lung cancer as a result of smoking cigarettes ½ to 1 pack per day for 38 years. In addition, before the fine needle biopsy was even performed, the plaintiff had both CT and PET scan imaging that was not only suspicious for cancer but was reported to be most consistent with the diagnosis of cancer. The defense further established that the cytological specimen at issue in the case was very abnormal and had numerous features and characteristics of lung cancer. It was only with the benefit of subsequent surgical pathology from the excision and lobectomy that the diagnosis of cancer could be excluded. The defense also established that even if the fine needle biopsy at issue had been reported differently or not performed at all, the patient would still have undergone the subsequent lung surgery to remove the mass because of the other medical evidence that established the mass in the lung was more than 90% likely to be cancer.