$1.4 Million Settlement for Failure to Diagnose Liver Cancer

Daniel Scavetta, who had a history of intravenous drug abuse, began seeing internist Dr. James Agresti. Dr. Agresti prescribed Suboxone. After a colonoscopy revealed multiple polyps, including one that was too large to remove, Scavetta was referred to a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Joel Nizen.

A CT scan showed a 1.9 cm lesion in Scavetta’s liver and an enlarged spleen. This prompted the interpreting radiologist to recommend that Scavetta undergo an MRI of his abdomen. Although Dr. Nizen performed surgery approximately two weeks later, he did not investigate the lesion.

Approximately 13 months later, Scavetta saw blood in his urine. The CT scan and MRI revealed a 4.2 cm liver mass. Scavetta was subsequently diagnosed with having Stage IV hepatocellular carcinoma.

He underwent chemotherapy and radiation but died of this disease almost three years later. Scavetta was 66 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and three children.

Scavetta’s wife, individually, and on behalf of his estate, sued Dr. Nizen and Dr. Agresti, alleging that they chose not to diagnose liver cancer. The Scavetta family maintained that the defendants negligently failed to diagnose and treat Scavetta’s hepatitis C, which led to his liver cancer.

The lawsuit also alleged that the surgeon, Dr. Nizen, should have followed up on the radiologist’s recommendations.

Dr. Nizen argued that he had told Scavetta of the need for follow-up visits and potential liver cancer. Dr. Agresti denied that he served as Scavetta’s internist, maintaining that he had merely seen him for the purpose of prescribing Suboxone.

Before trial, the parties settled for $1.4 million.

The attorney representing the Scavetta family was Paul M. da Costa.

During the discovery phase of the case, the Scavetta attorney engaged experts in oncology and general surgery. The defendants presented experts in colorectal surgery and oncology.

Scavetta v. Agresti, No. BER-L-002995-18 (N.J. Super. Ct. Bergen County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling misdiagnosis of cancer lawsuits, wrongful death cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits, physician negligence cases and radiology negligence lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 45 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Schiller Park, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Lincolnshire, Highwood, Homewood, Olympia Fields, Westchester, LaGrange, Barrington, Naperville, Alsip, Chicago (Gage Park, Englewood, South Shore, East Side, Roseland, Near West Side, Little Italy, Little Village, Logan Square, Uptown, Ravenswood, Edgewater, Belmont Cragin, North Lawndale), Lyons, Berwyn, St. Charles, Hinsdale, LaGrange Highlands, Burr Ridge and Palos Hills, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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