Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Plaintiff alleged failure to timely diagnose prostate cancer, leading to metastatic disease
Court: Loudoun County Circuit Court
Tried before: Jury
Date resolved: 7/1/2022
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $0 (defense)
Attorneys for defendant (and city): Michael E. Olszewski and Tracie M. Dorfman, Fairfax
Description of case: The plaintiff was a patient of the defendant primary care physician for 18 years. During that time, his PSA was monitored at his annual visits. When the plaintiff’s PSA elevated to the 8 to 10 range, the primary care physician worked through a differential diagnosis which included benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis. When the plaintiff’s PSA further elevated to 14, the primary care physician referred the patient to a urologist. Biopsy revealed adenocarcinoma ranging from Gleason 7 to 9. The patient underwent a prostatectomy and the cancer had spread to the cul-de-sac peritoneum and four of 10 lymph nodes. A PET scan revealed metastatic disease to the bone. The patient’s prognosis is poor.
The plaintiff filed suit against the primary care physician on May 23, 2019. The plaintiff alleged that the primary care physician should have referred him to a urologist following the initially elevated PSA. The plaintiff alleged that if his prostate cancer had been diagnosed earlier, it would have been curable. Due to several COVID-19 continuances, the case proceeded to trial on June 27, 2022.
At trial, the defense argued that the primary care physician appropriately managed the PSA testing and that the standard of care did not require earlier referral because the PSA was in a stable 8 to 10 range. The defense also argued that earlier diagnosis would not have made a difference as micro-metastases had already occurred when the PSA was initially elevated. The plaintiff argued that the standard of care required referral to a urologist once the PSA exceeded 4 and that if the cancer had been diagnosed earlier, it would have been curable. By trial, the plaintiff’s health had declined such that he testified via Zoom from the hospital.
After five days of evidence, the jury deliberated for two and a half hours and returned a unanimous defense verdict.
Defense counsel Tracie Dorman provided case information. [022-T-118]