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$1,469,084 Award for Family of Deceased Veteran Over Missed Lung Cancer Diagnosis at Syracuse VA Medical Center

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Kelly Wolford

ALBANY, NY (Feb. 1, 2018) – The surviving family members of a veteran who died of lung cancer are entitled to $1,469,084.10 in compensation after the Syracuse VA Medical Center failed to follow up on an X-ray that showed a cancerous lesion, according to a recent order from the U.S. District Court in Albany.

Medical malpractice attorneys from the law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP, represented the plaintiff family members in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Attorneys Daniel R. Santola, Laura M. Jordan and Amber L. Wright, served on the Powers & Santola trial team.

The plaintiffs argued that the VA hospital in Syracuse negligently failed to diagnose William K. Mann Jr.’s lung cancer after a 2011 X-ray revealed a suspicious spot on his lung. The cancer went untreated for over three years until another medical facility diagnosed it in 2014. By then, it had metastasized.

Expert testimony demonstrated that the then Stage 1A tumor could have been surgically removed in 2011, and Mr. Mann would have had a 70 percent chance of surviving the disease. However, by the time the cancer was finally diagnosed, it had spread to the spine and was inoperable. The “basically incurable” disease then carried only a 14 percent probability of long-term survival.

Mr. Mann died in March 2016 after enduring a painful series of surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy – all of which ultimately proved futile. His surviving family members sued the VA, arguing that the Syracuse VA Medical Center committed medical malpractice when it failed to identify the cancerous lesion in 2011, failed to notify the treating physician, and failed to order a follow-up CAT scan to confirm that it was cancer.

In an order dated Jan. 11, 2018, U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino found that the VA was liable for medical malpractice and wrongful death.

“In the Court’s view, the medical malpractice of the defendant is flagrant, totally below any acceptable level of care, and in this case it was fatal,” Judge D’Agostino wrote in the order. She wrote that “Mr. Mann was already a dead man walking” by the time he underwent a chest X-ray in 2014 at Rome Memorial hospital.

Judge D’Agostino awarded the plaintiffs $1.25 million for Mr. Mann’s pain and suffering, plus $91,757.10 for medical expenses, $100,000 to be split among his four surviving children, $20,000 for his widow, and $7,327 for funeral expenses. The medical expenses award came in a separate judgment dated Feb. 9, 2018.

The case is Christina M. Mann, as Co-Executor of the Estate of William K. Mann Jr., William K. Mann, III, as Co-Executor of the Estate of William K. Mann Jr., Vicki Mann v. United States of America (Case No. 6:15-CV-645 in the United States District Court, Northern District of New York).

About Powers & Santola, LLP

Founded in 1987, the law firm of Powers & Santola, LLP, assists individuals in Albany, Rochester and throughout New York State who has suffered serious, catastrophic injuries due to the carelessness of others. The firm primarily focuses on medical malpractice, including cases involving the delayed diagnosis of cancer, and construction site accident cases. The firm’s main office is located at 39 North Pearl Street, Suite 6, Albany, NY 12207. Please contact the firm to learn more.