General Surgery, Liver Transplant, Transplantation
Ref. # 97097
A 56-year-old Michigan physician underwent a routine physical examination. His internist ordered an ultrasound of the abdomen, which showed a 2.3 cm lesion of the right lobe of the liver. No follow-up was performed, nor was the physician informed of the abnormality. Two years and three months later the physician underwent another exam, after which the internist ordered a CAT scan of the abdomen, which revealed a 3 cm lesion of the right lobe of the liver and no indication of cirrhosis. The internist did not communicate this to the physician, but did send a copy of the CAT scan report to a gastroenterologist, who did not perform any further investigation. Another two years and ten months later the physician underwent a CAT scan at the hospital of his employment. It revealed a 10 cm lesion in both lobes of the liver. He was transferred to a major cancer center, where he died of liver cancer three months later. A medQuest surgeon specializing in liver transplants opined that the liver was absolutely salvageable with appropriate treatment either after the ultrasound or after the initial CAT scan. The physician's death was preventable.