Patient Undergoes Prostatectomy After Pathology Lab Misplaces Samples

Pathology Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Indiana and involves an older male who underwent a digital rectal exam and subsequently a biopsy for suspected prostate cancer. The biopsy sample was sent to the defending pathology lab. The patient was referred to an oncologist who could not determine definitively by looking at the pathology report whether or not the mass on the patient’s prostate was malignant. As a precaution, he underwent a prostatectomy. It was later discovered that the lab had misplaced the majority of the original tissue samples. Since all the tissue samples were exhausted, and the last sample was inconclusive, the oncologist could not fully determine the correct course of management.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you test and evaluate these types of tissue samples?
  • 2. Please discuss your background in securing and managing tissue samples.
  • 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above? If so, please explain.
  • 4. Please tell us why you're qualified to serve as an expert reviewer of this case.

Expert Witness Response E-009235

I would be glad to review this case on the plaintiff’s behalf. I frequently test and evaluate tissue samples for specimens, including biopsies. I do surgical pathology every day in my practice and have extensive experience in securing and managing tissue samples. At my present practice, we work with surgical centers and 8 different hospitals send us specimens. I am happy to lend my experience to this case. I trained in surgical pathology at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and serve as chairman of the Tumor Board at a fairly large hospital. I also serve on the Cancer Committee, and I am Chair of Pathology at the hospital. I have a PhD in Pathology for work done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Reseearch Center. Given my background, I am knowledgeable about the clinical aspects of the case in addition to being well-versed to standards of care and operating procedures for pathologists.

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