Judge Rules for Attorney Hammer: Consulting Physician May Be Liable for Negligence

Amberley Hammer prevailed against a Plea in Bar filed by a defendant pathologist. The Plaintiff sued for damages after a misdiagnosis of breast cancer that led her to undergo an unnecessary partial mastectomy and removal of lymph nodes. The primary pathologist issued a report conveying the diagnosis of cancer and indicating that the results were confirmed by a second reviewing pathologist. Although the second pathologist was not named in the report, testimony was unequivocal as to the reviewing pathologist’s identity. A Norfolk Circuit Court judge denied the second pathologist’s pleading to be dismissed from the case. Rather, the judge ruled that a jury could reasonably conclude that the consulting pathologist had a physician-patient relationship with the Plaintiff.