Pre-trial settlement is $500,000 for testicular cancer case

Trial Lawyers Report, 2006

Failure to properly diagnose and treat testicular cancer

The plaintiffs’ decedent was a nineteen year-old boy who, as a result of the defendants’ negligence, suffered a significant delay in the diagnosis of his testicular cancer allowing his cancer to spread to his liver and abdomen, resulting in his tragic, untimely and preventable death.

The plaintiffs’ decedent went to his internist on 3/3/99 with complaints of a lump under his left nipple. The defendant noted the decedent was taking Trazadone for depression and planned to check if breast enlargement was a side-effect of the medication. The plaintiffs’ expert was prepared to testify that unilateral breast enlargement is a known symptom of testicular cancer.

At no point did the defendant ever perform a testicular examination or set up a testicular ultrasound. On 3/17/99, the second defendant wrote an entry in the decedent’s medical record stating that the decedent’s psychiatrist felt that the breast lump was unrelated to Trazadone. Despite this information, the second defendant indicated to the plaintiffs’ decedent that his symptoms were a common adolescent finding. There is no indication in the medical record that the second defendant made plans to perform a testicular examination and a testicular ultrasound after having determined that the gynecomastia (abnormal enlargement of the breasts in a male) was unrelated to the Trazadone. On 10/5/99, the decedent returned with complaints of abdominal plain, constipation and vomiting. The second defendant performed both an abdominal examination and a testicular examination, noting tenderness of the abdomen but he stated in his records that there were no masses. The decedent returned to the defendant’s office two days later, a third doctor noted the decedent as having gynecomastia, as well as a large ten to twelve centimeter mass in the left upper quadrant of the decedent’s abdomen and a “rock hard” left testicle measuring eight to ten centimeters. Further diagnostic tests revealed that the decedent had very advanced testicular cancer which had spread into his liver and abdomen. Following several courses of treatment, the decedent died on October 5, 2000.

The plaintiffs’ experts were prepared to testify that the accepted standard of care in 1999 required the average physician to perform a testicular examination and/or testicular ultrasound to rule out a testicular abnormality when a post-pubescent male presented with unilateral gynecomastia. The plaintiffs’ experts were further expected to testify that the plaintiffs’ decedent would have more likely than not survived his testicular cancer had he been diagnosed back in March.

The defendants’ experts were expected to testify that breast enlargement is an extremely rare symptom of testicular cancer, and that the standard of care in 1999 did not require a testicular ultrasound in this case. They were also expected to testify that the decedent’s cancer was so rare and aggressive that even if he had been diagnosed on 3/3/99, his death would not have been preventable.

The case was settled for $500,000 prior to trial.

Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this testicular cancer malpractice lawsuit.

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