Death Blamed on Uncommunicated Abnormal PSA Results

October 11, 2023 | Strategic Insights for Health System


In 2009, a patient (plaintiff/decedent) with a family history of prostate cancer was tested via a digital rectal exam (which was normal) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) lab test. The PSA test results were abnormally high. At trial, there was conflicting evidence as to whether this result was communicated to the patient, according to the September 2023 Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts**. Evidence was offered by the patient that a voicemail message was left for him but only results related to high cholesterol number was relayed; the defense claimed the PSA test results were also relayed at that time. For the next two years, there was no evidence offered demonstrating that treatment options, including specialist consultations, were provided to the patient.

In 2011, the patient returned to the physician and was diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Another PSA test was performed that again yielded abnormally high findings. Within two weeks after the test, the patient returned to the physician with symptoms including swelling, pain running down the right leg, an inability to empty his bladder. He was informed during this visit that he had an abnormal PSA result. On his departure from the physician's office, he saw the 2009 result and was subsequently examined by a urologist who diagnosed him with stage IV prostate cancer. He died within three years...

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