Scranton Attorneys Melissa Scartelli and Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr. Secure $550,000 Medical Malpractice Verdict on Behalf of 79-Year-Old Scranton Woman

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Delayed Lung Cancer Diagnosis Leads to One of the Largest Jury Verdicts for Elderly Patients in Lackawanna County History

Melissa A. Scartelli, Esq.

Melissa A. Scartelli, Esq.

Peter and I are proud to serve as advocates for elderly and retired individuals.

On April 1, 2011, Scranton personal injury lawyers Melissa A. Scartelli and Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr. of the Pennsylvania law firm Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, P.C., secured a $550,000 jury verdict in a medical malpractice case brought by 79-year-old Irene Doherty of Scranton, Pa., who suffered a 23-month delay in the diagnosis of her lung cancer (Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, 3387 - CIVIL - 2009). The verdict, returned against radiologist Earl Detrick, who practiced in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pa. prior to retiring, may be the largest verdict for an elderly patient in Lackawanna County history. Scartelli previously secured the largest recorded verdict in Luzerne County on behalf of an elderly patient when a jury awarded a then-91-year-old woman, who fell from a hospital bed, $970,000.

At trial before the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Scartelli and Olszewski on Doherty’s behalf contended that among other missteps, Detrick in January 2007 failed to properly report to Doherty or her physician his conclusions regarding a computerized tomography (CT) scan of Doherty’s chest. Though the scan revealed a mass in Doherty’s right lung that merited medical follow-up, the mass was not brought to Doherty’s attention until nearly two years later when, in December 2008, a subsequent CT scan of her chest revealed a now-much-larger cancerous mass. In the 23 months between CT scans, the mass had doubled in size, preventing surgical removal, and spread to Doherty’s lymph nodes. Doherty’s suffering and physical deterioration due to her lung cancer could have been prevented had Detrick properly reported the results of the January 2007 CT scan, the attorneys argued. Doherty now suffers from pain, anxiety and a decreased life expectancy, among other afflictions.

“Peter and I are proud to serve as advocates for elderly and retired individuals,” said Scartelli. “Unfortunately, many attorneys decline to represent older personal injury or medical malpractice victims because their cases are more difficult to win.”

“In this case,” added Olszewski, “Mrs. Doherty faces a much worse prognosis than she otherwise would have due to the negligence of the defendant, Dr. Detrick. Had Mrs. Doherty’s cancer been treated when the mass was first detected in her lung, her prognosis would have been excellent.”

The president and founder of Scartelli Distasio & Kowalski, Scartelli has been representing seriously injured plaintiffs in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. She handles a range of complex matters on behalf of accident victims, malpractice victims and other injured individuals and their families. Her areas of practice include automobile accidents, auto defects, construction and workplace accidents, defective drugs and medical devices, insurance bad faith, liquor liability, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, premises liability, product liability, professional liability and psychiatric malpractice. Scartelli is one of a select few female attorneys that have been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy; she been certified as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum; and she has been consistently named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® by Thompson Reuters. Both Scartelli and her law firm are known for tackling difficult cases that require exceptional effort and creative lawyering.

Olszewski is a shareholder and managing partner with Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, bringing a unique blend of more than 25 years of litigation experience to the firm. Currently focusing his practice on criminal defense, medical malpractice and personal injury matters, Olszewski previously served as District Attorney of Luzerne County and a Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge. During his tenure as district attorney, he tried 18 jury trials to verdict, including seven first-degree murder verdicts. As a common pleas judge, he tried more than 180 criminal jury trials, including five capital homicide trials, and was named Criminal Court Administrator. Prior to presiding over both criminal and civil jury trials, Olszewski served in the court’s family division and handled equity and civil non-jury trials. He is also a certified member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

In addition to working on personal injury matters together, Scartelli and Olszewski are married, residing in Dallas, Pa.

Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski, P.C. was founded in 2001. The firm handles a range of complex matters on behalf of accident victims, malpractice victims and other injured individuals and their families. The firm also represents criminal defendants. Practice areas include automobile accidents, auto defects, construction and workplace accidents, criminal defense, defective drugs and medical devices, insurance bad faith, liquor liability, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, premises liability, product liability, professional liability and psychiatric malpractice. Scartelli, Distasio & Kowalski is small enough to care yet large enough to win for their clients in the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., region. To learn more about the firm, visit http://www.sdklawfirm.com.

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