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$1.05 Million Settlement in Delayed Diagnosis of Renal Carcinoma

After selecting a jury in Philadelphia, attorneys Carol Nelson Shepherd and Peter M. Newman negotiated a $1.05 million settlement for the wrongful death of a 63-year-old man who died as the result of a five-year delay in the diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma (cancer of the kidney). He was survived by his wife and five adult children. A confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement precludes disclosure of the names of the defendant physicians and institutions.

Plaintiff was diagnosed in 1996 with prostate cancer and was under the care of the defendant urologist when an MRI of the abdomen and a subsequent ultrasound revealed a 5cm. mass in plaintiff’s right kidney, described at the time as “suspicious for renal cell carcinoma.” The defendant urologist continued to treat plaintiff’s prostate cancer, which was successfully cured with surgery. Unfortunately, the defendant urologist failed to address the mass in plaintiff’s right kidney, in part because a CT scan of the kidney mass was misinterpreted by the defendant radiologist as a cyst rather than a cancerous tumor. By 2001, the cancer had spread throughout plaintiff’s body and was no longer treatable. Plaintiff died within 2 months of diagnosis.

Plaintiffs were prepared to present testimony at trial from experts in the fields of urology, radiology, oncology, pathology and actuarial economics. Plaintiff’s expert oncologist would have testified that with the timely diagnosis and treatment of stage I renal cell carcinoma in 1996, plaintiff’s chance for a cure was at least 80 percent. The defense planned to introduce evidence that the plaintiff was afflicted with a variety of other maladies that would have adversely affected his work life and life expectancy.

The settlement will be shared by the decedent’s wife and children.