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Delay in Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

$750,000 – Medical Malpractice/Negligence

Facts

Delays in diagnostic testing in a patient with a PSA of 4.2 resulted in uncurable prostate cancer.

Mr. W was a healthy, productive man who enjoyed his lifelong employment as a construction superintendent. He and his wife have been happily married for over thirty years and have two adult children.

On January 30th, during a routine physical exam with his primary care physician, blood was drawn from plaintiff, then 52 years of age, and submitted for a PSA test. The results showed a PSA level of 2.0. Approximately two years later, his blood test showed a PSA level of 4.2. LabCorp report dated December 27th notes the result is high. However, his doctor did not inform Mr. W of the results of the test, nor did he recommend any follow-up care or re-check of his PSA level.

Mr. W saw his doctor annually for the next three years, unaware of the elevated PSA level. It was not until Mr. W returned to his physician, having had his PSA re-checked by another physician when it was found to be 5.25, that he learned of his earlier elevated PSA reading.

Only then was Mr. W referred to a urologist, and underwent a biopsy which revealed an adenocarcinoma of both the right and left lobes of the prostate. He underwent a prostatectomy that revealed an aggressive lesion. There were positive margins, seminal vesicle involvement with evidence of vascular invasion and perineal invasion.

Since the surgery, Mr. W has undergone hormone therapy. Post-operatively, his PSA level began to rise again, which is a poor prognostic sign. It is anticipated that the hormone therapy can control his prostate cancer for approximately 18 months, after which, it will mutate to a form resistant to the hormone therapy and spread metastatically.

Allegations/Contentions

Plaintiffs alleged that the doctor violated the standard of care by failing to immediately refer Mr. W to a urologist for biopsy in December/January, or immediately have his PSA level re-tested. Plaintiffs allege that the doctor again violated the standard of care on each and every subsequent occasion he saw Mr. W, by failing to advise Mr. W of his abnormal PSA, failing to refer him to a urologist or immediately re-checking the PSA level.

The doctor said he advised Mr. W of the abnormally high PSA of 4.2 in January and provided him with lab slips to have his PSA re-checked in August. Defendant alleged that Mr. W simply failed to get the lab work done.

Injuries/Damages

Mr. W’s prostate cancer went undiagnosed and untreated for approximately three and a half years. By the time it was diagnosed and treated, it had escaped the prostate capsule and had become incurable. There is no cure for Mr. W’s prostate cancer. The only treatment available to him will be palliative. Mrs. W also presented a claim for loss of consortium.

Special Notes

Plaintiffs made an initial settlement demand of $936,500, which included $250,000 for the settlement of Mrs. W’s potential wrongful death litigation. Defendant’s response to the demand was an offer to settle for $400,000.

On the day before trial was to begin, plaintiffs agreed to attend a mediation hearing before Craig D. Higgs, Esq. in an attempt to resolve the matter. The case was settled as to both plaintiffs for $750,000. The potential wrongful death action was not included in the final settlement.


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