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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

Failure to Send X-rays for Evaluation - Yields $1.9 Million Settlement

Gustinucci v. an occupational medicine specialist

$1.9 Million Settlement

Date of Settlement: Aug. 27, 2004

Court and Case Number: C.P. Luzerne 5567-C of 2001.

Judge: Hugh Mundy.

Type of Action: Medical Malpractice.

Injuries: Above-knee amputation; increased risk of metastatic disease.

Plaintiffs' Attorneys: Joseph A. Quinn Jr. and Michelle M. Quinn, Hourigan Kluger & Quinn, Kingston.

Defense Attorney: Bruce Coyer, O'Malley Harris Durkin & Perry, Scranton.

Plaintiffs' Experts: Richard Paul Bonfiglio, M.D., physical medicine and rehabilitation, Murrysville; Steven Gitelis, M.D., orthopedic oncology, Chicago; Barry M. Shmookler, M.D., pathology; Rockville, Md.; Lawrence D. Weis, M.D., orthopedic surgery and oncology, Georgetown, Conn.; Clifford Beinart, M.D., radiology, New York; Patricia L. Chilleri, M.S., rehabilitation, Kingston; Richard Fischbein, M.D., psychiatry, Kingston; Andrew G. Verzilli, Ph.D., economist, Kintnersville; Harry A. Doyle, M.D., psychiatry and neurology, Philadelphia; Mona Goldman Yudkoff, R.N., rehabilitation, Bala Cynwyd; Robert D. Voogt, Ph.D., life care and rehabilitation, Virginia Beach, Va.

Defense Experts: Richard G. Schmidt, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Philadelphia; Arthur S. Patchefsky, M.D., pathology, Hershey; Kenneth E. Brumberger, M.D., radiology, Philadelphia.

Comments: After twisting his right leg at work in August 1998, Eugene Gustinucci, then 46, saw an occupational medicine specialist at Northeastern Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, according to his attorney, Michelle M. Quinn.

The specialist diagnosed Gustinucci as suffering from a medial collateral ligament sprain and advised him to return to the office for an x-ray, the attorney said. Gustinucci returned to the office two days later to have a right knee x-ray taken: the specialist interpreted the x-ray as showing an area of calcification and an area of osteonecrosis. According to Quinn the specialist testified that based on the x-ray study, he determined that a bone tumor was within his differential diagnosis and that he intended to have the films sent out for a radiological interpretation.

The films, however, were not sent out for evaluation, Quinn said.

Quinn claimed there was no system in place at Northeastern to guarantee that films requiring radiological interpretation were sent out for evaluation by radiologists. According to defense attorney Bruce Coyer, there was no written policy or procedure governing the practice but there was a system in place. He declined further comment.

The plaintiffs' suit also alleged that the specialist failed to advise Gustinucci of his findings and that he did nothing to follow up regarding the studies. Accordingly, the plaintiffs claimed, an extraskeletal chondromyxoid sarcoma remained undiagnosed until Gustinucci reinjured his knee 31 months later.

After consultation with an orthopedic oncologist following the reinjury, Gustinucci underwent an above-knee amputation of his right lower extremity on May 22, 2001, Quinn said. A computed tomography imaging scan of the thorax performed at that time revealed questionable metastatic disease. Consequently, Gustinucci continues to be monitored by way of serial diagnostic studies.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.

About HKQ Law

HKQ Law is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nine attorneys at HKQ Law were recently named to the 2019 Best Lawyers List and has been designated a Tier 1 Best Law Firm for personal injury, medical malpractice litigation labor law and corporate law in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history on behalf of injured clients. The firm was also recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A. Quinn is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



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