Case #1025: Prostate Cancer
At 62 years old, the Plaintiff’s Decedent, was noted to have an elevated PSA and was referred to the Defendant urologist for evaluation and examination which occurred within two months. The Defendant recommended a biopsy but the decedent refused. The Defendant also recommended that the patient follow up in six months for prostate biopsy based on the elevated PSA result but the Plaintiff’s Decedent did not follow up as recommended. The Plaintiff’s Decedent next returned to the Defendant in two years with an elevated PSA level. As a result, a prostate biopsy was performed but ended with only two specimens (instead of six) due to the patient’s inability to tolerate the procedure due to pain. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendant negligently failed to complete/reschedule the biopsy using anesthesia, and further negligently reported the results, based on an inadequate sampling, as benign. The next year, the Plaintiff’s Decedent again saw the Defendant again and had an elevation in PSA. The Defendant ordered a “free PSA” study with a plan for repeat biopsy depending on the results. The patient failed to call the Defendant for the results. The Defendant did not contact the patient when he received the results, and no biopsy or other follow up occurred for several years. By that time, the cancer had metastasized. The Plaintiff’s Decedent died of his disease, leaving behind adult children.
The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendant breached the standard of care by failing to affirmatively contact the Plaintiff’s Decedent, in writing or by telephone, to follow up on the elevated PSA results when the Plaintiff’s Decedent failed to keep scheduled appointments.
The Defendant denied all allegations of negligence and contended that the Plaintiff’s Decedent was responsible for the outcome due to his failure to make or keep appointments or to follow up as the Defendant recommended.