Male Diagnosed With State 4 After Doctor Ignored Abnormal Test Results

07th July 2010
By J. Hernandez in Medical Malpractice
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This year roughly fourteen percent of the 193,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer will already have advanced prostate cancer by the time the cancer is detected. With routine testing before the onset of symptoms, including digital examinations and PSA blood tests, a number of these individuals might have been diagnosed before the cancer progressed to an advanced stage. A lapse of time until the cancer is advanced not only limits the man's treatment possibilities but also dramatically lowers his odds of surviving the cancer. Consider the following published case to illustrate.

While conducting a physical examination on a 56 year old male patient, a physician noted a small nodule on the left part of the prostate. The doctor ordered a PSA test which came back as 3.1 - typically considered to be in the normal range. The physician did nothing else at the time. Almost three years went by. The doctor once more conducted a physical examination and records that there were no abnormalities felt on the prostate. This time, the doctor fails to order a PSA test. The patient consulted with by a second doctor about 6 weeks later for an insurance mandated medical examination. This physician ordered a PSA test which registered at 5.3 - high. The individual then contacted his regular doctor's office and was told to return for them to do their own PSA test. This test came back a 3.5 - in normal range. The physician told the patient not to worry and that nothing else needed to be done.

Again, almost three years went by until the doctor next screened the patient. The physician again documents the nodule. The physician then ordered a PSA test that registered at 4.7 - high. The doctor does not tell the man and does nothing further regarding these 2 abnormal test results. Close to two years after the physical examination shows 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 revealed that the leve had increased to 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.

An action for medical malpractice followed during which the doctor admitted that the existence of the nodule indicated an "abnormal" finding. The law firm that represented the man and his wife reported that the matter settled for $850,000. This amount included two hundred fifty thousand dollars for non-economic damages and two hundred fifty thousand dollars for the wife's future wrongful death claim - the maximum recoverable under the laws of the state where the claim arose.

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