Deceased radiologist’s estate on the hook for $8.1M jury verdict

The estate of deceased radiologist Palmer Jane Blakley, MD, and the corporation tied to her defunct practice must pay $8.125 million to remedy a missed cancer diagnosis in 2013, an Illinois jury determined last month.

Althea Wright first visited the now-shuttered MetroSouth Medical Center in August 2013 for chest x-rays, but Blakley failed to spot a round density in her left lung at the time. It wasn’t until October 2014 that providers at another South Illinois hospital pinpointed the cancer, but it had already progressed from stage 1 to 3.

She subsequently died five months later, compelling the family to file suit, resulting in the Dec. 18 verdict.

“Ms. Wright’s cancer was diagnosable, treatable and curable in August of 2013. Dr. Blakley’s failure to take advantage of the opportunity for early detection cost Althea her life and her children their mom,” family attorney John Perconti said in a statement issued by the Chicago-based law firm last week.

Blakley, 68, died in March 2019 from complications stemming from COPD following knee replacement surgery. The jury is holding her estate and the corporation linked to her now-closed practice, Unimed Limited, liable for the damages. Perconti said Tuesday that the firm is investigating whether the defendants have assets to pay the amount. At the time of her death, she was survived by her brother, sister and partner of 25 years, according to an obituary.

Levin & Perconti filed the suit on behalf of Wright’s two children, Linda and Lonnie, who stand to collect any payment. They cited the state’s Wrongful Death and Survival acts in the original suit, alleging that Blakley “failed numerous times” to appropriately diagnose their mother’s care.

“As a result, she experienced pain, suffering, disfigurement and ultimately death, which could have been prevented had her cancer been diagnosed in a timely manner,” the law firm said in its statement.

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