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Patient died after failure to diagnose cancer recurrence — $1.4M settlement

Type of action: Medical malpractice

Injuries alleged: Progression of cancer

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Johanna Fitzpatrick (Ret.)

Date resolved: 9/27/2022

Verdict or settlement: Settlement



Amount: $1,400,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Wallace B. Wason Jr. and Michele Bartoli Cain, Alexandria

Description of case: After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, the patient underwent a radical prostatectomy. Following the surgery, he was followed by his surgeon for several years, then released to his primary care provider for serial monitoring.

For patients who have had their prostate removed, the PSA test results should be < .2 ng/ml. Initially, the patient’s PSA was within that range. Over a period of years, the PSA rose but the patient was not informed of the rising PSA results or their significance. Eventually, the patient logged in to his patient portal and found his elevated test results. That led to his diagnosis with extensive metastatic disease.

Plaintiff alleged that the defendant breached the standard of care by failing to order enough PSA testing and by failing to properly interpret and act upon the abnormal PSA test results that were reported to the defendant. Plaintiff’s evidence would have been that the cancer was highly curable if treatment had been initiated when the abnormal PSA test results were first reported.

The case was mediated prior to any depositions being taken. The patient passed away at age 65, approximately five weeks after the case was resolved at mediation. Achieving the settlement within his lifetime was an important consideration during the negotiations.

Wallace Wason Jr., counsel for the plaintiff, provided case information.