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Cancer transplant suit goes to trial

May 18, 2010 at 9:45 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, May 18 (UPI) -- Doctors would have saved a man's life if they had removed his transplanted kidney when they learned the donor had cancer, a lawyer told a New York jury Tuesday.

James McCarthy, representing the recipient's widow, said Victor Liew was in a bind because the anti-rejection drugs he was taking also kept his body from fighting cancer, the New York Post reported. Liew was 37 when he died of uterine cancer in 2002 seven months after the transplant.

McCarthy, in his opening statement, said Dr. Thomas Diflo of New York University Medical Center learned two months after the transplant the kidney had come from a woman who had died of cancer. McCarthy said removing the kidney at that point would probably have saved Liew's life.

"He told Victor and Kimberly, don't worry about it, leave it in," McCarthy said. "Dr. Diflo told Vincent and Kimberly, don't worry, it's a female disease. Ninety-nine percent of the time you don't get it."

Diflo testified he did advise Liew to have the kidney removed, and the patient, who had been waiting five years for a transplant, refused.

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