NYU Not Liable In Queens Man Organ Death

By Juan De Jesus
|  Friday, May 28, 2010  |  Updated 3:35 PM EDT
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NYU Not Liable In Queens Man Organ Death

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New York University is breathing a sigh of relief after the foreman of a Queens County jury read the verdict to one of the courts more baffling cases.

The jury found NYU was not liable for the death of a transplant patient who received a kidney from a woman with uterine cancer.

Vincent Liew, 37, died in 2003, seven months after his kidney transplant. The organ came from an upstate woman who had died of a stroke. An autopsy of the donor later determined she also had uterine cancer but did not know it.

Liew’s widow appeared stunned as the foreman announced the verdict Friday after deliberating for about five hours over two days.
Liew's legal team claimed that Diflo told him he would never contract uterine cancer and should keep the diseased organ.

The jury found surgeon Thomas Diflo did not commit medical malpractice and awarded Kimberley Liew no damages. The widow was seeking $3 million for her husband's pain and suffering.

Throughout the proceedings Diflo testified that he explained the risks and that he told Liew the safest plan was removing the kidney, but the odds of Liew developing the cancer were slim, given its origins in the female reproductive system. Liew and his wife insisted on keeping the kidney because he didn't want to go back on dialysis.

"It would be extremely unusual for a man to get cancer of the uterus," Diflo testified he told Liew, according to the Daily News.

However, an autopsy performed on Liew revealed the Singapore native was killed by cancer linking his death to the transplant.

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