On May 15, 2023, SDF attorneys Mike Wright and Michael Scivley obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a family medicine physician and his clinic in a 6-day jury trial for alleged medical malpractice causing personal injury and wrongful death. The plaintiff alleged a delay of approximately 18 months in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer occurred due to the defendants’ failure to notify the patient of his elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) laboratory value and the need for a urology referral.
The plaintiff presented expert testimony from a family medicine specialist, urology specialist, medical assistant, and a telephone company representative contending the defendants failed to make a diligent effort to notify the patient of the PSA value. The plaintiff also alleged that earlier diagnosis and treatment probably would have resulted in a cure.
The defense presented testimony from the defendant physician and his medical assistant, as well as expert testimony from a family medicine specialist, urology specialist, and medical assistant to demonstrate that the system in place at the clinic for attempting to notify patients of abnormal laboratory results was reasonable and within the standard of care. The defense argued they were reasonable in their effort to notify the patient of the elevated PSA value and the need for a urology referral, even though specific notification did not occur. There was a dispute as to whether the patient was informed of the need to return to the clinic to discuss his laboratory results with the physician but failed to follow up. The defense also presented testimony to rebut the plaintiff’s causation evidence. The defense demonstrated that, due to the very aggressive nature of the cancer, an earlier diagnosis and treatment probably would not have made any difference in the patient’s unfortunate outcome.
The jury returned its verdict in favor of the defendants following a 2-hour deliberation.