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Wrongful death suit against UPMC results in $5.7 million verdict

When families trust medical professionals to care for their loved ones, they expect these professionals to adhere to the standard of care reasonably expected of those in the medical field. When a doctor or hospital behaves negligently, and as a result of this negligence, harms a patient, he or she may face lawsuits from the patient or the patient's loved ones. The husband of a Pittsburgh woman filed suit against UPMC, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and a physician, after his wife's tragic death. A jury awarded him with $5.7 million in damages. UPMC plans to appeal.

The husband's lawsuit alleged professional negligence and wrongful death. The plaintiffs say that the medical team responsible for the woman's care failed to properly diagnose the lesion on her liver. Liver cancer is often curable if treated early. After conducting treatment for a while, the doctor allegedly advised that a liver biopsy was not necessary. The woman continued to see specialists over the next few months, but no tests were scheduled to look more closely at the lesion.

The defendants insist that the woman was treated appropriately and that her symptoms did not indicate the type of liver cancer she actually had. When the woman finally had a CT scan in 2011, the lesion had grown to be an 11 cm malignant tumor. As a result, the woman died in 2012 at the age of 51.

Wrongful death lawsuits can provide some relief to grieving families dealing with medical expenses and funeral costs on top of the loss of a loved one. These damage awards may help a family cope with their loss and move forward.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "$5.7 million verdict awarded in lawsuit against UPMC," Paula Reed Ward, April 11, 2015

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