July 25, 2017, PNLR E-Newsletter

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Failure to read ultrasound

photo of ultrasound photo

The plaintiff alleged that a radiologist and imaging center were liable for failing to review an ultrasound of her breast before interpreting a second breast ultrasound as benign. The jury awarded approximately $21.59 million. Lazard v. Signet Diagnostic Imaging Servs.​
 

Marlande Lazard, 43, found a lump in her left breast. She underwent an ultrasound, which radiologist Richard Burton interpreted as showing cellulitis and a small nodule. He recommended a repeat ultrasound in six months. When Lazard experienced pain and swelling in the breast over the next two weeks, she went to Signet Diagnostic Imaging Services for a repeat ultrasound.

Radiologist James Domesek did not review Lazard’s previous ultrasound before interpreting the second test as benign. For the next nine months, Lazard had various doctors’ appointments and was diagnosed as having persistent mastitis and possible autoimmune disease. A subsequent breast biopsy showed Stage III inflammatory breast cancer. An emergency room nurse and mother who was pursuing an advanced degree, Lazard underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy and has been told she has less than two years to live.

Lazard sued Domesek and Signet Diagnostic, among others, alleging failure to properly interpret the second ultrasound or compare it to the original study.

The jury awarded approximately $21.59 million, apportioning liability at 85 percent to Signet Diagnostic and 15 percent to Domesek.

Citation: Lazard v. Signet Diagnostic Imaging Servs., LLC, No. 2015-028411-CA-01 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Dade Cnty. Apr. 20, 2017).

Plaintiff counsel: John S. Seligman, Gary Friedman, AAJ member Marvin R. Friedman, and Zachary Friedman, all of Coral Gables, Fla.

Plaintiff experts: Luis Villa, oncology, Miami; and Marc Kaye, radiology, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Defense experts: John Glick, oncology, Philadelphia; and Peter Julien, radiology, Los Angeles.