Couple Pursue Legal Claim Against Doctor Who Postponed Detection Of Man's Prostate Cancer

07th July 2010
By J. Hernandez in Medical Malpractice
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This year approximately fourteen percent of the 193,000 adult men identified as having prostate cancer will already have advanced prostate cancer by the time the cancer is detected. With screening, including digital examinations and PSA blood tests, many of these men might have been diagnosed while their cancer was in the early stages. A lapse of time until the cancer is advanced not only limits the man's treatment alternatives but also dramatically reduces his odds of surviving the cancer. Look at the following reported lawsuit as an example.

While conducting a physical examination on a 56 year old male patient, a doctor noted a small nodule on the left side of the prostate. The doctor ordered a PSA test which came back as 3.1 - or within normal range. The doctor took no further action at the time. Nearly 3 years went by before the physician again performed a physical examination and documents that the prostate is normal. This time, the doctor fails to order a PSA test. The patient was examined by a different physician about 6 weeks later as part of an insurance mandated medical examination. This physician ordered a PSA test which registered at 5.3. This is considered high. The individual then consulted with his regular doctor's practice and was told to come back so they can take their own PSA test. This test came back a 3.5 - within normal range. The doctor assured the man there was no need for concern or for additional follow up.

Once more, almost three years passed until the doctor next screened the patient. The doctor again documents the nodule. The doctor then ordered a PSA test that came back at 4.7 - elevated. The doctor does not inform the man and takes no action on these 2 abnormal test results. Nearly 2 years later the physical examination reveals that the prostate not only had a nodule, but was firm on the side of the nodule and was enlarged. The PSA test at this point shows the level at 14.1. This time, the doctor finally refers the patient to a Urologist who finds that the patient has advanced prostate cancer that had gotten to the bones around pubic area and the upper portion of his right leg.

A medical malpractice claim followed during which the physician stated that the presence of the nodule indicated an "abnormal" result. The law firm that helped the man and his wife reported that the case was resolved for $850,000. This amount included $250,000 for non-economic damages and $250,000 for the wife's future wrongful death claim. This is the top amount that can be recovered for those claims under the laws of the state where the claim arose.

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