Prostate Cancer Delay Due to No PSA Testing: $1M Settlement

PCP’s failure to offer PSA screening leads to delay in diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer

2023 Medical Malpractice Settlement Report
By Adam R. Satin, Attorney for plaintiff

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Summary

In this claim the plaintiff presented to his PCP in 2010 as a new patient at the age of 54. The patient had previously been seen for many years by another PCP of the same physicians’ group and had regularly obtained annual PSA tests, which had been normal.

In October 2010, at his first appointment with the new PCP, the plaintiff had lab work done, including a PSA test that resulted 1.72 (normal 0.0 – 4.0). Although the PCP ordered routine lab work for the plaintiff the following year, he did not order a PSA level. In 2012, the PCP again did not order a PSA level for the plaintiff despite numerous office visits.

Prostate Cancer PSA blood test

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The plaintiff presented to his PCP for an annual physical in June of 2013. The PCP ordered lab work, including a PSA test, for the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s PSA level resulted at 2.57. This was the last time the plaintiff had a PSA test ordered by the PCP.

From 2014 through 2018, the plaintiff continued to treat with the PCP multiple times each year. In June of 2018, the plaintiff presented to the emergency department with abdominal pain. A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis showed acute appendicitis, and incidentally discovered an enlarged prostate and findings highly suspicious for metastatic prostate cancer. PSA was ordered, which resulted elevated at 20.83. Following referral to urology, the plaintiff was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

Plaintiff’s counsel offered expert testimony that the standard of care required the PCP to discuss the risks and benefits of PSA screening so that the patient may make an informed decision whether to be screened. Additionally, the plaintiff offered sworn testimony that, had the PCP discussed prostate cancer screening and offered him a PSA test on an annual basis, the plaintiff would have chosen to have the annual testing, which would have led to earlier diagnosis and likely cure. The defense expert primarily relied upon the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation against PSA screening during the relevant time period. Plaintiff’s counsel was prepared to challenge the USPSTF recommendations as unreliable and as being grounded in a flawed reading of the science regarding PSA screening. Defense further focused on the largely successful treatment of the plaintiff’s cancer to date, arguing that any alleged delay in diagnosis did not ultimately make a difference in his outcome.

The case settled for $1,000,000.

Lubin & Meyer medical malpractice attorneys Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. and Adam R. Satin represented the plaintiff in this case.

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