Years Of Physician Ignoring Abnormal Test Results Leaves Patient With Metastatic Prostate Cancer

04th June 2010
By J. Hernandez in Medical Malpractice
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This year about fourteen percent of the 193,000 men who learn they have 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 individuals could have been diagnosed before the cancer progressed to an advanced stage. A delay until the cancer is advanced not only limits the man's treatment alternatives but also significantly lowers his chances of surviving the cancer. Look at the following reported malpractice claim to illustrate.

While conducting a physical examination on a fifty-six year old male patient, a physician noted a small nodule on the left side of the prostate. The doctor ordered a PSA test the results of which showed the level to be 3.1 - typically considered to be in the normal range. The doctor did nothing else at the time. Nearly 3 years passed. The physician again did a physical examination and documents that there were no abnormalities felt on the prostate. This time, the doctor fails to order a PSA test. The patient was examined by a different physician around 6 weeks later as part of an insurance mandated medical examination. This physician ordered a PSA test which comes back at 5.3. This is considered high. The patient then contacted his regular doctor's practice and was told to come back for them to take their own PSA test. This test returned a 3.5 - within normal range. The physician told the individual not to worry and that nothing else needed to be done.

Again, nearly 3 years went by before the doctor next screened the patient. The doctor again records the nodule. The doctor then ordered a PSA test that registered at 4.7 - elevated. The doctor fails to notify the man and takes no action on these 2 abnormal test results. Close to two 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 revealed that the leve had gone up to 14.1. This time, the physician at last refers the patient to a Urologist who diagnoses the patient with advanced prostate cancer that had reached the bones in his pubic area and the upper portion of his right leg.

An action for malpractice followed during which the doctor stated that the existence of the nodule indicated an "abnormal" finding. The law firm that handled this matter reported that the matter was resolved for $850,000. This sum incorporated $250,000 for non-economic damages and $250,000 for the wife's future wrongful death claim - the maximum recoverable under the laws of the state in which the case arose.

Joseph Hernandez is an Attorney accepting cancer related matters. To learn more about metastatic prostate cancer and other cancer matters including metastasized breast cancer visit the webistes
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