HARRISBURG – The state Superior Court has affirmed the judgment of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas for the defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The Superior Court affirmed the jury's verdict of no negligence because "the appellant has failed to prove any actionable error in the jury's verdict," the Sept. 12 opinion read.

Florence James, executrix of the deceased Lafayette James’ estate, alleged wrongdoing by defendants Albert Einstein Medical Center, Aria Health, Frankford Hospital - Torresdale Campus, Oxford Circle Family Medicine, Burden-Newton Medical Associates and individual doctors.

Florence James alleged “that the defendants/appellees, five physicians and the institutional medical providers for which they practiced, failed, for a period of over six years, from December of 2004 until March of 2011, to diagnose the cause of her brother’s various recurring abdominal problems,” according the opinion.

The decedent was ultimately diagnosed with a neuroendocrine carcinoid tumor and died in 2014.

Florence James argued in trial court that the defendants did not order the proper tests in a responsible timeframe, or make appropriate referrals to specialists. Because of this, Florence James claimed that her brother’s tumor grew, resulting in his death. 

The physicians alleged they met all appropriate standards of care and also stated that over the years, the decedent didn’t follow through with their instructions, including, “failed to follow through on various referrals to specialists, failed to return for scheduled follow-up visits, and failed to present himself (in one instance, even failed to stay in the emergency room) for additional test procedures,” the opinion stated.

Florence James appealed on six grounds, including questioning if the judge erred "in sustaining appellees' objection to the testimony of appellant's decedent's mother on the impact of the death of her son in her life," the opinion states.

The court ultimately decided to uphold the trial court’s decision. Senior Judge William H. Platt wrote in the opinion that the loss to the James family is "an occasion of sadness," but that "cannot and should not prevent us from deciding appellant's claims according to well-settled precedent by long-established legal procedures."

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