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Liver-Related Malpractice Lawsuits

A number of cancers arise in the liver or biliary system.  Unlike many cancers, liver cancer (and liver disease) appear to be on the rise.  From 1999 to 2016, annual deaths from liver cancer doubled to 11,073.  Liver cancer is now the fastest increasing cause of cancer death in the United States. 

Why?  it is a good question.   The tragedy is that liver cancer is often preventable.  Approximately 71 percent of liver cancer diagnoses in the U.S. can be attributable to preventable risk factors.  Some of these deaths are also caused by malpractice.  You need to diagnose and treat liver cancer quickly to have the best chance of curing it. 

Liver Cancer Examples

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is one type of primary liver cancer that arises in the main functional cells of the liver. Angiosarcoma of the liver (ASL), another cancer that arises in the liver, comes out of the endothelial cells in the liver. Hepatoblastoma also arises in immature liver cells. But almost any cancer that you can think of can metastasize from some other part of the body to the liver. You battle liver cancer by cutting it out with resection or by getting a transplant. There are also stories of radio-frequency ablations providing long-term survival.

Of course, there are liver injury malpractice claims unrelated to cancer.  Below are some sample liver-related medical settlements and verdicts.  

Liver-Related Malpractice Verdicts and Settlements

YEAR / STATE

CASE / INJURY SUMMARY

RESULT

2020 – Colorado
A woman underwent a non-emergent laparoscopic cholecystectomy. During the procedure, the surgeon damaged her common bile duct and hepatic vasculature vessels. He tried to repair the liver by inserting an arterial line into her left hand. Following the procedure, the woman suffered from liver failure. Her left hand also sustained blood supply loss. This led to the necrosis of three fingers, which were subsequently amputated. The woman also now required a liver transplant and anti-rejection medication for life. She alleged that the surgeon’s negligence caused her permanent injuries. The woman claimed he performed the surgery while the site was inflamed. She also claimed he failed to take corrective measures that would have prevented her liver failure. The surgeon denied liability. He argued that the woman assumed the injury risk. The jury awarded a $3,000,000 verdict.

$3,000,000 – Verdict

2019 – Illinois

A man presented to the emergency room with significant abdominal pain and elevated white blood cell levels. The physician diagnosed him with cholecystitis. The man subsequently underwent radiology imaging and a cholecystectomy. Following the procedure, the man received acute cholecystitis and pancreatitis diagnoses. Several months later, he returned with right upper quadrant pain. The man was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma that metastasized to his abdominal wall. He died three months later. His wife alleged that the physician’s failure to timely diagnose his liver cancer caused his death. She claimed he failed to consult a liver specialist, failed to appreciate and follow-up on abnormal liver findings, and failed to consult an oncologist before performing the cholecystectomy. The jury awarded the widow a $4,000,000 verdict.

$4,000,000 – Verdict

2019 – Pennsylvania

A 69-year-old man underwent a CT scan. Its results revealed a liver mass. The radiology interpreted it as benign. Sixteen months later, the man received a metastatic liver cancer diagnosis. He died two months later. His family alleged that the radiologist’s negligence caused his death. They claimed her failure to interpret his CT scan delayed his liver cancer diagnosis and treatments. This case settled for $1,250,000.

$1,250,000 – Settlement

2019 – Connecticut

A woman underwent an abdominal and pelvic CT scan. The radiologist interpreted the results as displaying gallstone pancreatitis. Two years later, the woman underwent a biopsy. Its results revealed metastasized liver cancer. She died a month later. Her family alleged that the radiologist’s negligence caused her death. They claimed her failure to properly interpret her CT scan delayed her liver cancer diagnosis and treatments. The jury awarded a $2,700,000 verdict.

$2,700,000 – Verdict

2012 – Nevada

A man came under a PA-C’s care for his stage 4 cirrhosis and hepatitis C. He died a year later from liver cancer. His family alleged that the PA-C’s negligence caused his death. They claimed he failed to perform a liver cancer screening. The family also alleged that the PA-C failed to order a liver biopsy, which went against a radiologist’s recommendations. The PA-C denied liability. He argued the man’s cancer was inoperable, even with a timely diagnosis. The jury awarded a $1,624,528 verdict.

$1,624,528 – Verdict

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