On Sept. 30, 2014, Lubell Rosen malpractice defense lawyers Steven L. Lubell, Esq., and Aldo M. Leiva, Esq. received a complete defense verdict in favor of their client, a local radiologist charged with liability in a patient’s breast cancer diagnosis. The jury ruled that the doctor could not be held responsible for failing to detect the cancer.
Lubell and Leiva, assisted by Lubell Rosen associates Ariel Widlansky and Josh Bloom, defended Jorge Jose Sowers, M.D., who was accused of medical malpractice after he inspected the mammography report of a woman who developed breast cancer. The patient, 41-year-old Hortensia Martin, underwent a routine mammogram screening test on July 14, 2008. After the exam, Dr. Sowers interpreted her test results and identified a nodule in Martin’s right breast. At trial it was uncontroverted that the information in the mammography report was passed on to Martin’s primary care physician, but was never given to Martin. It was also uncontroverted that Martin saw a second primary care physician when she complained of breast pain.
The plaintiff’s malpractice suit, brought by her attorney, Maria Rubio, Esq. of Miami, sought damages of more than $26 million, which included $5,316,940 in lost earnings, $20,985,000 in pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses and treatment costs. Dr. Sowers was insured by Lancet Indemnity RRG, a liability insurance carrier owned and directed by physicians.
At trial, Lubell and Leiva called the two primary care physicians who treated Martin as adverse witnesses. The first doctor told the court that he took four months to fax Martin a copy of her report, and the second doctor admitted that she saw Martin four separate times, but never looked over the mammography report.
Dr. Kevin Inwood, a board certified internal medicine specialist in Jupiter, Florida, testified against the primary care doctors for the defense. Dr. Inwood stated that both doctors did not uphold the standard of care, by failing to refer Martin for a surgical consult and/or surgical biopsy. According to the expert testimony from both the plaintiff and defense teams, if Martin had been ordered to undergo a surgical biopsy within a year after the nodule was discovered, her cancer would have probably been detected before it metastasized.
Martin’s oncologist also testified that about a year after the routine mammogram, the patient developed metastasized cancer, which spread from her breast to her lymph nodes and vertebrae. The oncologist’s testimony indicated that, with the progression of her cancer, Martin’s life expectancy at the time of trial was less than two years.
Dr. Sowers had given a deposition in 2013, stating that he knew there was cancer on the film when he examined Martin’s report in 2008. However, he later recanted his testimony due to his confusion at the earlier deposition. In closing remarks to the jury, Lubell said, “Our hearts go out to Ms. Martin and her family. However, Dr. Sowers did nothing wrong in this case, except give a bad deposition.” The jury agreed, finding no liability for Dr. Sowers in the failure to detect the cancer.
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Lubell Rosen is a law firm specializing in services for medical professionals and the health care industry. Its attorneys have successfully defended doctors like Dr. Sowers from malpractice claims in Florida. To discuss your case, contact the Lubell Rosen malpractice defense lawyers today.