Bruce Nagel obtained a jury verdict for $6 million on October 14, 2015 in a medical malpractice suit regarding the delayed diagnosis of colon cancer.
Ben Serico of West Caldwell was administered a colonoscopy by physician Robert Rothberg in December 2007, but two years later he was diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to his liver, according to Bruce Nagel.
The lawsuit claimed Rothberg missed a cancerous polyp that should have been removed. Video footage taken as part of the colonoscopy showed a polyp that was not removed, Nagel said. Although it was unclear at that time whether the polyp was cancerous, the standard of care was to remove all polyps, he said.
Two years later, Serico was diagnosed with colon cancer, and the same type of metastatic cancer was found in the patient's liver, Nagel said. Serico died two years after his diagnosis, on December 27, 2011, at age 62.
A jury found for the plaintiff after a two-week trial before Superior Court Judge James Rothschild Jr. The defense argued that the doctor was not obligated to remove the polyp, that the colon cancer was not in the area of the polyp, and that the liver was already cancerous at the time of the colonoscopy.
However, the jury attributed 20 percent of damages to the decedent's pre-existing cancer, reducing the award to $4.8 million.