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NAOMI JONES AND RAY JONES v. MONTEFIORE HOSPITAL (07/02/81)

decided: July 2, 1981.

NAOMI JONES AND RAY JONES, HER HUSBAND, APPELLANTS,
v.
MONTEFIORE HOSPITAL, MARVIN SILVERBLATT, EDWARD L. WAISBROT, STANLEY A. HIRSH, GERALD I. KAUFER, SILVERBLATT MEDICAL ASSOCIATES, A PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATION, AND SURGICAL ASSOCIATES, A PENNSYLVANIA PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION, APPELLEES



No. 80-1-128, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania entered February 15, 1979 at No. 990 April Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

P. Christian Hague, Thomas A. Berret, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Charles H. Alpern, Grogan, Graffam, McGinley, Solomon & Lucchino, Pittsburgh, for Montefiore Hospital.

John W. Jordan, IV, Thomson, Rhodes & Grigsby, Pittsburgh, for Waisbrot, Hirsch, Kaufer & Surgical Associates.

William R. Tighe, Stein & Winters, Pittsburgh, for Silverblatt & Silverblatt Medical Associates.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.

Author: Kauffman

[ 494 Pa. Page 413]

OPINION

This is an appeal by Naomi Jones and her husband, Ray Jones, ("appellants") from an Order of the Superior Court affirming judgments in favor of appellees*fn1 entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in a medical malpractice action.*fn2 Because the trial court's jury charge on the issue of causation was clearly erroneous, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

In November 1973, Mrs. Jones was referred by her physician, Dr. Marvin Silverblatt, to Surgical Associates, a professional association that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, for treatment of a mass in her right breast. She was examined on November 19, 1973 by Dr. Waisbrot, a member of Surgical Associates, who discovered two masses, one in the upper part and the other in the lower part of her right breast. Mrs. Jones was admitted to Montefiore Hospital for a biopsy, and on November 27, 1973, Dr. Kaufer, another member of Surgical Associates, removed material from her breast.*fn3 The biopsied mass proved

[ 494 Pa. Page 414]

    to be benign, and she was discharged from the hospital the following day.

Mrs. Jones continued to receive treatment from Surgical Associates, and at her first post-biopsy examination on December 7, 1973, Dr. Waisbrot noted in his office records: "Still has half-by-one centimeter nodule 12 o'clock right breast. Why wasn't it removed." On December 17, 1973, Dr. Kaufer examined Mrs. Jones, but testified he could not palpate this mass. In March 1974, Dr. Waisbrot noted: "Cyst at 1:30, right breast, 4 inches from aureola. Check in one year." In April 1975, Dr. Kaufer again examined ...


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