Visitor Question

Do I have a case for a hospital not telling me about a chest tumor?

Submitted By: MB (West Chester, PA)

I was sent to a nearby ER directly from my Dr’s office for belly pain. I told them I was having a hard time breathing lately too. They did a full body CT scan. They told me I had colitis and suggested I follow up with a GI Dr, sent me home with pain medicine and antibiotics for 10 days.

I followed up last week and after my visit and scheduling my colonoscopy, the GI Doctor inadvertently asked who I was seeing for the chest tumor they found that was included in my CT report. Today I got a call from the Head of their ED apologizing that his staff totally dropped the ball on letting me know, because the radiologist clearly stated it in his report. They forgot to tell me about or suggest a follow up on it.

Needless to say, I’m so upset I don’t know what to think, but I feel like I just got an “Oops, sorry, our bad” apology. Do I have a case for the hospital forgetting to tell me about the chest mass? This seems like blatant negligence to me. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear MB,

You certainly have a right to be upset. Failing to inform you about a chest tumor isn’t like a doctor failing to tell a patient he had high blood pressure. However, it appears the difference in time between the initial discovery of your tumor and the GI doctor informing you about the tumor was minimal.

From the facts you present, especially because of the small amount of time between events, you probably don’t have the basis of a medical malpractice claim.

You are correct when you say the initial doctor was blatantly negligent. Yet, to have the basis of a meritorious claim you will have to be able to prove the negligence somehow resulted in injury. Fortunately for you, the existence of the chest tumor was disclosed within a very short time after its initial diagnosis (10 days).

You have the option of visiting with several malpractice attorneys. Yet, from the facts you present, it is likely their conclusion will be similar to ours.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: January 14, 2014

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