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Parties Give Closing Arguments In VA Malpractice Case

Closing arguments were Friday in a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by a veteran against the Phoenix VA Health Care System, and lawyers focused on what should — or should not — have happened when Steven Cooper’s first prostate exam showed irregularities.

Cooper’s attorneys argued his prostate cancer was curable in 2011, when he first visited the VA. They said VA staff misled the 18-year Army veteran about the results of a prostate exam, and the delay in care allowed the cancer to become deadly.

Defense lawyers countered that the plaintiff’s theory is simplistic and not based on science. They said Cooper’s prostate exam was subjective, he had no risk factors for early cancer and VA staff acted within the standard of care.

The defense also said Cooper has at least five years to live. Cooper’s attorneys acknowledged his cancer is in remission. But they said it could come back at anytime.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.