Medical Negligence: Heirs v. Internist – 7-Figure Confidential Settlement
Posted on November 7, 2019 in E-Newsletter Winter 2019
In this confidential settlement, Conor M. Kelly and Spencer Pahlke secured a seven figure policy limit settlement on behalf of the surviving spouse and adult son of a 62-year-old telecommunications manager who died of bladder cancer after proving that the defendant internal medicine physician had improperly back-dated medical records. The decedent had a family history of bladder cancer and saw the defendant internist in 2014 and 2015 for blood in his urine. A urine cytology was performed in 2015 and found potentially cancerous cells, but no follow up tests were performed. In 2017, the decedent was diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer and died within months of the diagnosis.
The surviving wife and adult son alleged the defendant internist breached the standard of care by failing to appropriately test for bladder cancer and to refer the decedent to a urologist. During their investigation of the case, Conor and Spencer obtained copies of the decedent’s medical record. Upon review, the attorneys discovered several suspiciously placed handwritten chart notes which purported to document that the defendant had tried to refer the decedent to a urologist in 2015 but the decedent had refused to go. These notes were dated in 2015, but were inconsistent with other notes from that time frame. Troubled by the location and context of the notes, Conor and Spencer retained an expert in ink-dating to analyze and test the original medical chart in discovery. The expert analysis confirmed the attorneys’ suspicions and showed that the defendant physician had added back-dated medical record entries after learning about decedent’s cancer diagnosis. The case settled shortly after completion of expert analysis.