$150,000 Settlement for Medical Malpractice - Delay in Diagnosis of Benign Prostate Cancer

In 1996, prostate biopsy specimens of the 66-year-old plaintiff were reviewed by the defendant pathologist and reported to be "benign prostatic hyperplasia." Three years later, a second pathologist reviewed the slides and reported the presence of prostate cancer on three of the slides, and an amended report was issued.

The plaintiff was advised of the misread by his urologist. A subsequent biopsy showed the presence of prostate cancer, although the presence of metastatic disease was not confirmed. The plaintiff was treated with radiation and hormone therapy, and no radiographic evidence of reoccurrence or metastatic disease to any organ was found in a subsequent follow-up.

The plaintiff and his wife filed a complaint alleging that the defendant deviated from the standard of care in failing to diagnose and report the presence of prostate cancer in 1996, and as a result the plaintiff's cancer was not diagnosed until some two-and-a-half years later, causing him to suffer a lost opportunity for cure.

The defendant and his expert contended that the diagnosis of benign prostatic hyperplasia was well within the standard of care. More importantly, however, the defendant and his experts were expected to testify at trial that the plaintiff did not have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis nor was he shown to have metastatic disease at any time thereafter, and accordingly he did not suffer any injuries as a result of the delay in diagnosis.

The defendant counsel was expected to move to preclude any evidence of lost opportunity for cure on the grounds that such evidence would be speculative given the lack of metastatic disease.