Do we have a malpractice suit?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do we have a malpractice suit?

My husband is a former Navy veteran whom served his time and did 2 West Pac tours. He has been ill for the last year and a half with severe lung disease and has been diagnosed with severe pulmonary fibrosis thickening and hardening of his lung tissue. The physicians told us he only had a couple years left to live and that they did not know what had even caused the fibrosis in the first place. However, recently my family and I found out that two years ago a diagnostic scan was completed by his VA physician that showed scarring and asbestos exposure. My husband was never told about this diagnosis, was never treated, and has since had multiple chest tubes, complicated pleural surgeries, and many battles with pneumonia due to the pulmonary fibrosis. My family and I believe this is a direct result of their negligence to report and treat the asbestos exposure that occurred while he served time in the Navy. Since having that scan completed and not addressed two years ago, his illness has severely progressed and resulted in at least 10 hospitalizations within the last year. It is currently to the point that he needs a bilateral lung transplant in order to improve his quality of life and in hopes of him living longer. He is only 42 years old. This should not be happening and we believe it could have prevented. Do we have a malpractice suit?

Asked on October 13, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, you appear to have a medical malpractice suit. Malpractice can be based on the negligent, or careless, or worse, intentional, failure to disclose medical information, test results, diagnoses, etc., and/or the negligent or intentional failure to act appropriately on test, etc. results. What you describe--a diagnostic scan showing the asbestos exposure and scarring, but what was not acted on by his doctor(s) or disclosed to you--certainly seems to be malpractice.
More, it is malpractice which had a direct, provable, and signficant consequence on his quality of life, life expectancy, and medical costs (and possibly on his income and earning potential), all of which are things you can potentially recover in a malpractice suit.
It would be worth you and your husband's time to consult with a medical malpractice attorney *right away* before more time passes--there are some time limits in the law about lawsuits, like statuts of limitation, and you don't want to run afoul of them when you appear to have a viable cause of action. Good luck.

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