June 14, 2013
Gerald Toner successfully defended a pathologist in Jefferson Circuit Court. Plaintiff, the decedent’s mother, alleged that the pathologist was negligent in his preparation and examination of the decedent’s frozen section thyroid tissue slides, leading to a missed diagnosis of a rare form of thyroid cancer. Plaintiff further alleged that the language used by the pathologist in his report, mischaracterized the predictive behavior of the thyroid tumor, which confused subsequent clinicians and effectively precluded them from initiating the appropriate treatment. Toner defended the pathologist by establishing that his preparation of the frozen section thyroid tissue slides was in line with both local and nationally accepted cutting protocols and that his pathologic examination of the tissue slides yielded the correct diagnosis. Additional medical proof was submitted to establish that the pathologist’s report not only used the appropriate nomenclature to identify and describe the rare tumor, but also accurately forecasted the tumor’s potential to behave in an aggressive fashion, marked by distant metastases. The jury agreed with the defense and unanimously found in the pathologist’s favor.