Communicating Radiologist's Finding As to X-Rays

In Jenoff v. Gleason, 215 N.J. Super. 349, 521 A.2d 1323 (App.Div.1987), a radiologist did not communicate his findings relating to a lung tumor that appeared on a chest x-ray taken when the patient was hospitalized for a fractured wrist. In his reports, the radiologist recommended tomography of the area for further delineation and appropriate follow-up examinations. However, the reports arrived at the nurse's station after the patient had been discharged. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint, concluding that the proper method of communicating a radiologist's finding as to the chest x-ray was a matter requiring expert testimony and that no testimony had been offered indicating a breach of duty. The Court reversed, holding that the absence of testimony explicitly outlining the applicable standard of care and the deviation was not invariably fatal to a cause of action sounding in negligence. Id. at 357-58, 521 A.2d 1323. The Court said, "in the absence of . . . direct testimony, the issue is whether there is other evidence from which the jury could determine the applicable standard and its violation." Id. at 358, 521 A.2d 1323. In vacating the dismissal and remanding for a new trial, we pointed to the testimony of the treating physician who stated that an unusual finding by a radiologist would normally be communicated to the attending doctor or surgeon. Ibid. The Court concluded that "there was sufficient evidence to present a jury question as to the appropriate method of communicating the radiologist's findings to the treating physician." Id. at 359, 521 A.2d 1323.