$1 million settlement for death during prostate cancer surgery
2008 Trial Lawyers Report
Medical malpractice settlement: 58 year-old man dies during a prostatectomy following misdiagnosed prostate cancer.
The plaintiff’s decedent was a 58 year-old man who died during a prostatectomy following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. The plaintiff’s decedent never had prostate cancer, and the prostatectomy was thus an unnecessary procedure.
In June, 2001, the plaintiff’s decedent experienced blood in his urine and obstructive voiding symptoms. On July, 11, 2001, he underwent an ultrasound guided needle biopsy of his prostate gland which was reported by the defendant pathologist as showing the presence of microscopic foci of prostatic adenocarcinoma in two separate areas of the prostate. Based on these pathology results, the plaintiff’s decedent was diagnosed with prostate cancer and received Lupron injections followed by surgery to remove his prostate.
During the prostate surgery on December 10, 2001, the plaintiff’s decedent suffered a sudden spontaneous decrease in his oxygen saturation level, severe hypotension, and widening QRS complexes on EKG. A blood gas at that time showed severe respiratory acidosis and hypoxemia. The doctors suspected a pulmonary embolism.
Despite aggressive intervention and maximal supportive care, the plaintiff’s decedent continued to have a marked respiratory acidosis and hypoxia with intermittent periods of hypotension. He was to have a pulmonary angiogram, however shortly after the start of the procedure, he had a sudden drop in blood pressure and subsequently suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. An autopsy confirmed the cause of death as pulmonary bilateral recent and organized thromboemboli.
The surgical pathology report from Mr. Jorgagi’s prostatectomy specimen indicated that there was no evidence of prostate cancer.
The pathologist who interpreted this specimen indicated that a review of the previous needle biopsies taken on July 11, 2001, showed evidence of atypical reparative changes favoring a diagnosis of infarction. There was no indication that this pathologist found any evidence of cancer on the biopsy slides from July 11, 2001.
The plaintiff was prepared to present expert testimony that the defendant misread the prostate biopsy slides and improperly reported the presence of cancer cells which set into motion a treatment plan that ultimately resulted in the death of an otherwise healthy man.
The defendant contended that he was not negligent and that nothing he did or failed to do caused or contributed to the decedent’s death. The defendant further claimed that the biopsy slides do, in fact, show cancer, and that he was correct in his reading.
The case settled prior to trial for the full policy limits of $1,000,000.
Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this wrongful death lawsuit.
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