Should a Jury Consider the Possibility of Future Metastasis Due to Negligent Treatment In Awarding Damages ?

In Gradel v. Inouye, 491 Pa. 534, 421 A.2d 674 (1980), our Supreme Court addressed a similar issue. The plaintiffs in Gradel filed an action in trespass for medical malpractice on behalf of a young boy, who had developed bone cancer sometime in 1965 at the point of a fractured bone in his left arm. The cancer later necessitated the amputation of his left arm above the elbow. The plaintiffs claimed that the doctor's failure to biopsy and remove a soft-tissue tumor in a timely manner increased the likelihood of occurrence of the fibrosarcoma. The Supreme Court held that plaintiffs could present testimony to explain the future effects of the negligent treatment and that it "was not improper for the jury to consider the possibility of future metastasis in awarding damages." Id. at 546, 421 A.2d at 680.