New Jersey Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer Wrongful Death Case

BG partner Michael Zerres recently represented a plaintiff in Union County, New Jersey in a case involving the death of a 76-year-old man from prostate cancer. The man’s family alleged that his primary care physician failed to follow up on an abnormal PSA test result by promptly referring him to an urologist.

Two years later, when the man began experiencing urinary tract symptoms, he was referred to an urologist by an urgent care facility physician. The urologist performed a digital rectal examination (DRE), PSA and biopsy which revealed the presence of a high-grade, advanced prostate cancer. Despite aggressive treatment, the man succumbed to his disease 15 months later.

The trial lasted 3 weeks, from June 28, 2010 until July 19, 2010, as the defendant physician had refused to sign a consent form which would have allowed his insurance company to settle the case. The defendant physician testified that he did, in fact, instruct the patient to see an urologist following the abnormal PSA, and, that the patient failed to follow his advice. However, this advice was not documented anywhere in the physician’s chart.

Finally, after plaintiff’s case had been put in its entirety, and with only two defense witnesses remaining, the defendant consented to settling the case following a full day of examination. The matter was then resolved for a confidential amount. The Honorable Lisa F. Chrystal presided over the trial.

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