Doctor Ignores Five Years Of Symptoms And Abnormal Tests Of Patient With Prostate Cancer

By: J. Hernandez | Posted: 23rd June 2010

Prostate cancer is a terrible disease. While not 100% accurate there are diagnostic tests that assist doctors to identify whether a patient has the cancer. However due to the prospect of false negatives (a negative test result even though the patient in reality has cancer) doctors should follow up and repeat tests as appropriate if patient symptoms and screening tests continue to signal the possibility of cancer. The failure to do so might leave the physician liable for malpractice.

In one recorded claim a patient told his family doctor that he was having urinary frequency and burning. The doctor began the man on antibiotics and refered the patient to a urologist. The urologist performed a cystoscopy which showed that the man had an enlarged prostate. The urologist also ordered a PSA blood test which came back a 16.3 (a result above a 4.0 is ordinarily thought to be elevated). Consequently the urologist did a biopsy two months later. The biopsy was interpreted by a pathologist as containing no indication of cancer.

The next year the patient returned to the urologist. On this occasion the PSA blood test was a 2.9 (generally considered to be normal). The urologist diagnosed the patient with BPH (a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate). Three months later the individual consulted the PCP for fever and nocturia (needing to urinate over the night). The doctor began him on a second round of antibiotics. A follow up urine culture registered negative. The PCP thus referred the individual to the urologist. The urologist ordered a PSA test which registered a 6.4 ( high).

A biopsy examines portions of the prostate. Thus, a biopsy might not catch the cancer. However, the urologist chose to rely on the prior year's biopsy and to not perform another one as a follow up. Rather, the urologist did nothing to do anything more concerning the male's complaints and elevated PSA.

The subsequent year the patient returned to his family doctor. His issues including nocturia persisted. On physical examination the doctor noted that the individual had a highly enlarged prostate. Yet, the physician did not do another a PSA or re-refer the man to a urologist. Routine blood testing 4 months later revealed that the person's PSA was at 7.4 Neither physician did anything to follow up.

One more year goes by at which time the family doctor noted that the PSA level was 9.8 Once more, no follow up or referral to a urologist. Yet an additional year and the patient is still complaining of nocturia. Now the PSA was 9.7 No follow up and no referral. On the fifth yea following the male patient's first complaints of urinary problems the family doctor once more documented a considerably enlarged prostate gland and a PSA level that had now risen to 31. The physician lastly refered the individual back to the urologist.

The urologist confirmed that the patient's prostate was enlarged and began the man a 2 week program of antibiotics to be followed by an additional PSA blood test. When the PSA test was done 2 weeks afterwards it registered a 33. A biopsy was then finally done which found cancer every sample taken.

Testing afterwards revealed that the patient had cancer metastasis to the lymph nodes, the liver and the bone. Even with hormone therapy and radiation therapy the man passed away approximately eighteen months following his diagnosis. The law firm that handled this matter announced that the matter settled for $1,000,000.

To learn about advanced prostate cancer and other cancer matters including metastasized breast cancer visit the websites
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Tags: family doctor, biopsy, prostate cancer, pcp, urologist, diagnostic tests, enlarged prostate