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A Philadelphia jury has returned a verdict for just under $2.9 million in a case that involves claims by a 48-year-old terminal cancer patient that his primary care physician failed to detect his prostate cancer, which ultimately metastasized. The verdict in Hines v. Kosseim included damages totaling $2,859,770, but the jurors also found that 10 percent causal negligence was attributable to Gilbert Hines, resulting in a net award of slightly over $2.5 million, according to plaintiffs attorneys Michael Troiani and Robert Stein of Stein & Troiani in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. According to court papers, Hines, then aged 41, went to Penn Center for Primary Care in January 1999 for a physical, and a digital rectal exam was performed by defendant physician Laura Kosseim. The results were normal. The next time Hines met with Kosseim in September 2001, he was not screened for prostate cancer. During the fall of 2001, Hines visited Penn Center numerous times, complaining of back pains and fever, according to court papers. By November 2001, a digital rectal exam revealed irregularities and tests ultimately confirmed prostate cancer that had metastasized to bone cancer. Hines’ condition is terminal, Troiani said. The defense argued in court papers that Kosseim had not deviated from the standard of care in treating Hines. They noted that guidelines from a variety of medical associations have called for middle-aged African-American males like Hines to be screened for prostate cancer only when they reach 45. They also contended that Hines’ metastasis could likely not have been prevented, given the nature of his cancer. Troiani said a key factual dispute in the case centered on whether Hines had personally requested prostate cancer screening during his first visit with Kosseim. Kosseim’s notes reflected no such request, according to Troiani, but Hines — who until falling ill had worked as an advertising copywriter — claimed he had been prompted to request a screening after working on a prostate cancer awareness campaign directed at middle-aged African-American men. Troiani said the jury in Hines was picked Jan. 21, and the case was tried before Judge Nitza I. Quinones-Alejandro. The jury returned with its 11-1 verdict Jan. 28 after roughly 12 hours’ deliberations, he said. Hines initially demanded $9.75 million, and the defense never responded with an offer, Troiani said. The jury’s award is almost exactly equal to the wage and future earnings loss calculated by plaintiff’s actuarial expert David Bunin of Bunin Associates in Wynnewood, Pa. Other plaintiff’s experts included urologist Thomas Kasper of Rockville, Md., and internist David Isaacs of Bethesda, Md. Troiani said that after the verdict was read, several jurors told him they had found credible Hines’ assertions that he had personally requested prostate cancer screening after working on the awareness campaign. Troiani said he expects to file for at least $200,000 in delay damages. Defense attorney Charles Fitzpatrick III of Mylotte David & Fitzpatrick did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

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