Patient's Claim Wrongfully Diagnosed With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Causing Emotional Distress Allowed To Proceed To Trial
On January 11, 2024, an appellate court covering the Bronx affirmed the denial of summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's case brought against St. Barnabas Hospital, an ER doctor and a hospice. The plaintiff was 56 years old when in response to complaints of severe abdominal pain, dizziness and weakness at the Emergency Room of St. Barnabas Hospital he was allegedly wrongfully diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and transferred to a hospice where he remained for the next 18 months. The controversy requiring a jury trial is that the defense claims the patient reported to the ER physician that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer 2 years prior to the ER visit. However, the patient/plaintiff had never received a confirmed diagnosis that he had pancreatic cancer and indeed - did not.
The defense expert argued that the patient was homeless and had a history of IV drug abuse and alcohol abuse (perhaps an unreliable historian). Plaintiff's expert pointed out that the CT scan of the patient's abdomen and pelvis performed during the ER visit did not reveal pancreatic cancer and kidney function on blood testing was normal. As such the plaintiff's expert stated that the ER doctor departed from accepted standards in diagnosing Stage 4 pancreatic cancer without obtaining a consult from an oncologist. Clearly, issues of fact were identified that require a jury to decide following a full trial.
The claimed injuries from the transfer to hospice for 18 months include: fear of impending death, cancer phobia, emotional distress and methadone addiction. Candelario v MJHS Hospice & Palliative Care, 2024 N.Y. Slip Op. 00125