Plaintiff believes physician and health center didn't diagnose late husband's cancer

By Nicholas Malfitano | Feb 13, 2017

SCRANTON – A Pennsylvania woman believes a hospital system and one of its doctors negligently failed to diagnose her late husband’s cancer and caused his death in June 2015.

Theresa Pierce (both in her own right and as Executrix of the Estate of Matthew Pierce) filed suit on Jan. 26 in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas, against Geisinger – Community Medical Center of Scranton, Geisinger Health Systems of Danville and Joel S. Salesky M.D., of Wilkes-Barre.

“On or about Jan. 22, 2014, plaintiff’s deceased, [Matthew] Pierce, presented at the office of Gregory Cali, D.O. for the purpose of undergoing a physical exam. As part of the examination, Dr. Cali ordered a CT Thorax without dye” to be performed upon Pierce,” the complaint details.

“The CT Thorax without contrast was performed at a Geisinger facility located at 1800 Mulberry Street, Scranton, on Jan. 30, 2014 at 9:47 a.m. The study was interpreted by defendant Salesky and a report was finalized at 10:23 a.m. on that date. In his interpretation of the study, defendant Salesky failed to identify any finding which would require additional follow-up studies, and none were recommended by defendant Salesky,” the complaint adds.

The following year in February 2015, Matthew was again seen by Dr. Cali, who performed a “CT Chest Without Contrast” and ordered an endobronchial biopsy to be performed at Geisinger – which detected the presence of a mass in Matthew’s lower left lobe, which was found to contain squamous cell carcinoma.

That March, Matthew underwent an exploratory thoracotomy performed at the Regional Hospital of Scranton and learned his cancer was inoperable and unable to be removed. Though prescribed a regimen of radiation oncology and chemotherapy, Matthew passed away on June 25, 2015.

Pierce believes Salesky’s negligent delay and failure to properly diagnose the soft tissue mass found in the CT scan of January 2014 led her husband’s cancer to progress for an entire year before being diagnosed, which ultimately resulted in his death.

For claims under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act, Pennsylvania Survival Act, medical expenses, funeral expenses and estate planning expenses, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

The plaintiff is represented by James F. Mundy of Powell Law, in Scranton.

Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas case 2017-00681

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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