Medical Malpractice Case: Jury Awards $1 Million Verdict in Failure to Diagnose Rib Fractures in Cancer Patient

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This is the story of a medical practitioner’s major communication gap of a rib fracture in a cancer patient that led to a historic $1 million medical malpractice verdict.

William Pratt unfortunately fell down the aircraft stairways. His age was 67 years and previously he was diagnosed with Liver Cancer – Stage IV.

Immediately, he was rushed to the emergency room of a well-established hospital. After the necessary tests and checkups, he was transferred to the Radiology Department for additional radiological examinations. The primary radiology report confirmed that there was no bone damage.

The following day the radiologist Dr. Geoffrey Gilleland reviewed Mr.Pratt’s films and concluded that William Pratt, aged 67, had nine broken ribs. As with other medical malpractice suites, he failed to convey his findings to the emergency room and Mr. Pratt was discharged.

Pratt’s misfortune turned when he later developed pneumonia and was admitted to another hospital.  He died within the next two weeks. The main reason for his death was the problems involved in the last stage of his liver cancer and pneumonia. The surviving beneficiaries were Mr. Pratt’s wife and their three children! Should we not blame the medical malpractice lawyer near me for such medicinal misconduct?

Mrs. Pratt to file a lawsuit against Dr. Gilleland and the hospital. The allegations were:

  • The hospital misdiagnosed the 9 broken ribs
  • Dr. Gilleland failed to notify his own emergency room of the breaks
  • This therefore lead to the death of Mr. Pratt.

The trial ended in favor of Pratt’s family and the settlement amount was never disclosed!

The records show that the judge issued a $1 million verdict. During the proceedings, the Pratt family’s lawyer presented radiology experts, hospitals, emergency, and medical staff in their case.

Case File: Pratt v. Varaly, No. 2016-CP-46-3181 (S.C. Ct. Com. Pl. York County).

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