After a two-week medical malpractice trial in New Jersey that ended on October 14, 2015, the jury returned its verdict in the amount of $6 million in favor of the family of a 62-year-old man who had died due to colon cancer.
The plaintiffs alleged in their New Jersey medical malpractice lawsuit that the physician who performed a colonoscopy on the man in 2007, after the man had reported blood in his stool and a family history that included colon cancer in an uncle, failed to discover a polyp in the man’s colon that later developed into colon cancer that spread to his liver and caused his death on December 27, 2011. The defendant physician had told the man after his 2007 colonoscopy that the blood in his stool was due to hemorrhoids.
Fortunately for the plaintiffs’ medical malpractice claim, the defendant physician had video-recorded the man’s colonoscopy in 2007, for educational purposes. The parties’ respective medical experts testified during the New Jersey medical malpractice trial that the video showed a polyp in the man’s colon, yet the defendant physician testified during trial that he did not believe it was a polyp.
About two years after the 2007 colonoscopy, the man experienced severe pain and went to a local hospital’s emergency room, on New Year’s Eve in 2009. The medical staff at the hospital discovered that the man had a large mass on his liver.
On January 5, 2010, the man underwent a colonoscopy that found that the man had colon cancer, which had metastasized to his liver. He then endured chemotherapy and multiple surgeries during an agonizing two-year period before his death.
The plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant physician was negligent in failing to detect and remove the polyp in the man’s colon during the 2007 colonoscopy, which they alleged was required to be removed pursuant to the standard of care and which removal would have avoided the polyp developing into colon cancer that spread to the man’s liver and caused his death.
The decedent was an assistant professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology before his death. The defendant’s attorney refused to comment after the jury rendered its verdict, but the plaintiffs’ attorney stated, “While I’m thrilled with the judgment, it is tragic that [the man] died because he didn’t get the most basic medical care … Good medicine requires that every polyp that is seen is removed. The reality is he didn’t remove the polyp that was there.”
According to the CDC, in 2012, 134,784 people in the United States (70,204 men and 64,580 women) were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 51,516 people in the United States died from colorectal cancer (26,866 men and 24,650 women). Of the cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in both men and women.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of the misdiagnosis of cancer in New Jersey or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly consult with a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state, who may investigate your cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you in a cancer malpractice case, if appropriate.
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