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KESSLER v. SILBERBERG, M.D.

In this case, a dermatologist was alleged to have failed to diagnose malignant melanoma. The patient had a complicated medical history including heart transplantation which required immuno-suppressive medications. It was alleged that the dermatologist simply “burned off” suspicious lesions and did not appreciate the rapidity with which cancer could grow in a post heart transplant patient.

A subsequent treating oncologist was critical of the dermatologist and indicated that she “must have missed” the lesions for them to become so advanced in such a short period of time. The jury disagreed and agreed with the defense causation argument that because of the immuno-suppression, the lesions could spring up rapidly despite careful observation and scrutiny and do so in this case. The jury returned a defense verdict. The plaintiff was a Holocaust survivor who was an author and lecturer.