A jury has awarded $8.5 million in damages to a Lehigh County man in a malpractice suit against St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Robert Kline, 52, of Germansville, was awarded the $8.5 million after a jury agreed that doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown failed to properly notify him of a mass growing in his bladder.
According to Kline’s attorney, Paul Lauricella of Philadelphia, Kline went to the emergency room at St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown for kidney stones on October 23, 2015. A CAT scan then revealed a suspicious mass in Kline’s bladder, which was documented in the CAT scan report.
Kline was discharged with a diagnosis of kidney stones and stated that he was not made properly aware of the mass in his bladder, according to Lauricella.
16 months later, Kline was having difficulty urinating and visited a urologist, who stumbled upon his original scans.
“By then the tumor had grown to take over his entire bladder,” Lauricella said. Kline was diagnosed with bladder cancer, requiring the removal of his bladder. Kline’s bladder was then replaced with a bladder made out of parts of his intestine.
According to Lauricalla, Kline must now urinate every two hours to empty the replacement bladder and suffers frequent urinary tract infections.
The hospital did not make an effort to settle with Kline out of court, Lauricella said.
St. Luke’s University Health Network issued the following statement to Lehigh Valley Business in response to the jury’s decision.
“We are pleased the patient is currently cancer free and that his prognosis for the future is positive. After hearing testimony from nationally renowned experts from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital who agreed that St. Luke’s provided the best possible care to the patient, it is disappointing that the jury reached a different conclusion and awarded a shockingly high sum to the patient. While we respect the decision of the jury, tort reform is very much needed in this country so that awards are within the realm of reasonableness.”