Failure to Diagnose Base of Tongue Cancer.
This was a medical malpractice case in which Attorney Phil Russotti argued during trial that the defendant's internist and ENT specialist, both of whom were employed by the defendant HIP Group, negligently failed to diagnose base of tongue cancer. Phil proved that during the six month delay in diagnosis the cancer progressed from a Stage 1, which carries an 85% cure rate, to Stage 4, which provided virtually no chance for survival. The 50 year old female decedent died a year and a half after the diagnosis was ultimately made, leaving one adult son.
New York State wrongful death law is very restrictive in that it only permits recovery for economic loss or pain and suffering of the deceased. Since there was no economic loss because the decedent was not supporting her adult son, Phil concentrated on the pain and suffering she experienced as the disease progressed. At the beginning of the trial, the defendants offered $150,000.00 to settle the case. During two weeks of testimony the offers were continually increased until the case finally settled for $1,350,00.00.