On November 5, 2008, a jury in the Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts reportedly awarded a $9.4 million verdict to the family of a woman who had received experimental cancer treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After interest, the award to the family of the decedent reportedly totaled approximately $13.5 million.
According to reports, 40-year old Amy Altman originally went to Dana-Farber to have a tumor behind her knee removed. After the tumor was removed, doctors at Dana-Farber put Ms. Altman on an experimental chemotherapy regimen. After she began receiving the treatments, however, Ms. Altman began suffering from chronic diarrhea. Her doctors believed the diarrhea to be a side-effect of the treatment and so provided her with no medication to treat the condition.
When Ms. Altman eventually checked into Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital due to severe abdominal pain, the doctors reportedly were unable to treat the very serious infection from which she suffered because the chemotherapy had left her in such a weakened state. As a result, Ms. Altman's organs began to fail and she passed away in July 2003.
According to reports, the jury determined that Ms. Altman's death could have been prevented if the doctors treating her had looked into the cause of her chronic diarrhea.