S.C. jury awards $10 million verdict in wrongful death case

A Richland County jury last week awarded a $10 million verdict to the family of a Richland County woman who died in October 2012 from renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. Renal cell carcinoma is considered one of the most curable and treatable forms of cancer having an approximate curative rate of 90 percent if caught early.

“The jury agreed that no one should have to go through what this lady and her family went through,” said J. Edward Bell III, lead attorney on the case.  Bell, a nationally-known litigator, also is president of the Charleston School of Law.

The case, Bannister vs. Columbia Urological Associates, P.A., was brought by Bell Legal Group in Georgetown as a complex medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Joann Bannister for failure to properly diagnose and treat her kidney cancer over a period of five years.

In 2007, a small 1.8 cm kidney lesion was found on Mrs. Bannister’s left kidney. For five years, her doctor watched what experts called, “the natural progression of cancer. She died at age 70 of cancer related to the lesion. Mrs. Bannister was not told of her cancer diagnosis until four months before her death, Bell said.

“As a result of the negligence and multiple deviations from the proper standard of care, defendants’ actions ultimately caused the decedent’s death, as alleged in the filed complaint,” Bell said.

Originally, the suit was brought against two medical practices and two doctors, but one practice and doctor were dropped from the jury action after an earlier settlement.