Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mann v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. New York

January 11, 2018

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, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          POWERS, SANTOLA LAW FIRM MARGIE A. SOEHL, ESQ. AMBER L. WRIGHT, ESQ. DANIEL R. SANTOLA, ESQ. LAURA M. JORDAN, ESQ. Attorneys' for Plaintiffs.

          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE James T. Foley Courthouse JOHN D. HOGGAN JR., ESQ. KAREN FOLSTER LESPERANCE, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On August 3, 2017, Plaintiffs Christina M. Mann, Vicki Mann, and William K. Mann III filed a second amended complaint bringing claims for medical malpractice and wrongful death arising out of a failure to diagnose lung cancer in the decedent, William K. Mann Jr. ("Mr. Mann"). See Dkt. No. 58.[1] The Court held a bench trial on August 7, 2017, through August 9, 2017. At the trial, Plaintiffs called two expert witnesses: Dr. Jordan L. Haber, an expert in radiology; and Dr. Ronald H. Blum, an expert in oncology and internal medicine. Plaintiffs also called Vicki Mann, Mr. Mann's surviving spouse, and Donnell Raysor, a family friend, as well as Mr. Mann's four children: Christina M. Mann, William K. Mann III, Marcus D. Mann, and Alice A. Mann. The Government called Dr. Richard Sullivan, who was Mr. Mann's primary care physician at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Rome, New York. Additionally, excerpts of two depositions were played for the Court: one of the decedent, Mr. Mann, and the other of Dr. John C. Sandborn, a radiologist who was employed by the Syracuse VA Medical Center.

         Having reviewed the parties' pre-trial submissions, the trial transcript and exhibits, and the parties' post-trial briefs, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         II. FINDINGS OF FACT[2]

         A. The Parties and Jurisdiction

         1. Plaintiff Christina M. Mann was born on June 10, 1987, and is a resident of Utica, New York. See Transcript of Trial ("Tr.") at 365. She is William K. Mann Jr.'s daughter and a co-executor of his estate. See id.

         2. Plaintiff William K. Mann III was born on May 14, 1985, and is a resident of Yorkville, New York. See Id. at 302. He is William K. Mann Jr.'s son and a co-executor of his estate. See id.

         3. Plaintiff Vicki Mann is the widow of William K. Mann Jr. See Id. at 108.

         4. Defendant United States of America owns and operates the Syracuse VA Medical Center in Syracuse, New York.

         5. Plaintiffs sue the United States of America pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671 et seq. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         B. Medical History

         6. On May 25, 2011, Mr. Mann was seen by Dr. Richard Sullivan at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Rome, New York. See Dkt. No. 46 at ¶ 2.

         7. Dr. Sullivan performed a new patient physical and ordered a chest x-ray, see Id. at ¶ 3, and he listed the reasons for the chest x-ray as "baseline, hypertension, smoker, " see Pls.' Ex. 2 at 58.

         8. On May 25, 2011, Dr. John C. Sandborn was employed as a radiologist by the Syracuse VA Medical Center and interpreted Mr. Mann's chest x-ray within the scope of that employment. See Dkt. No. 46 at ¶¶ 4-5.

         9. In his May 25, 2011 radiology report reviewing Mr. Mann's x-ray, Dr. Sandborn made the following notation: "impression: negative chest." See Pls.' Ex. 2 at 58-59.

         10. Plaintiffs' radiology expert, Dr. Haber, testified that given Mr. Mann's history of smoking the radiologist reviewing his chest x-ray should have been looking for lung cancer, which can present as either a "coin lesion" or a "spiculated lesion." See Tr. at 28-30.

         11. Mr. Mann's May 25, 2011 chest x-ray showed a 1.5 centimeter nodular density in the upper left lobe of his lung. See Id. at 36.

         12. The lesion present on Mr. Mann's chest x-ray should have been clearly visible to a radiologist. See Id. at 39.

         13. Dr. Haber and Dr. Ronald Blum, Plaintiffs' oncology expert, testified that the lesion present in Mr. Mann's May 25, 2011 x-ray indicated that Mr. Mann had cancer and that a CAT scan was required in order to prove otherwise. See Id. at 37, 259-60.

         14. Upon discovering the lesion in Mr. Mann's x-ray, a radiologist following the standard of care would have communicated that finding to the patient's doctor and advised that a CAT scan would be necessary. See Id. at 36.

         15. Dr. Sandborn's interpretation of Mr. Mann's chest x-ray was a departure from good and accepted medical practices for a radiologist in New York State in 2011. See Id. at 42-43.

         16. Dr. Blum stated that he had a reasonable degree of medical certainty that Mr. Mann's lesion was stage 1A lung cancer as of May 25, 2011, and that it was not metastatic. See Id. at 237.

         17. If Mr. Mann's lung cancer had been diagnosed in May 2011, then it would likely have been surgically removed and he would not have required any further treatment in order to achieve a seventy percent probability of cure. See Id. at 237.

         18. In January 2014, Mr. Mann was hospitalized for multiple days at Rome Memorial Hospital and a chest x-ray was performed, which showed a lesion described in a report as "a vague area of nodularity" measuring 2.2 centimeters. See Id. at 263.

         19. There is no evidence that Rome Memorial Hospital communicated to Mr. Mann's doctors at the VA hospital that there was evidence of malignancy. See Id. at 267.

         20. Dr. Blum stated that it was his opinion, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that Mr. Mann already had stage IV metastatic lung cancer as of January 2014. See Id. at 254.

         21. Mr. Mann was not diagnosed with cancer until July 2014 when he was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer that had spread into his spine. See Id. at 238.

         22. When his cancer was diagnosed on July 25, 2014, it was inoperable and, according to Dr. Blum, it was "basically incurable, " with a fourteen percent probability of long-term survival. See Id. at 244.

         23. As part of his treatment, Mr. Mann underwent kyphoplasty, which is an attempt to reinforce the bones in the back to prevent impingement on the spinal cord and potential paralysis. See Id. at 245; Pls.' Ex. 5 at 989, 1007-08.

         24. Mr. Mann was also treated with four cycles of chemotherapy, which were intended to relieve symptoms but not necessarily to impact survival; the treatment ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.