There are screening tests that are used by physicians to find prostate cancer in males prior to symptoms appearing. However, regardless of whether a physician tests a male patient the tests are meaningless if the doctor fails to tell the patient, follow up with a referral to a urologist or order further testing in case of abnormal results. This can lead to a holdup in finding the man’s cancer and a deteriorating of the man’s As an example the discussion below of a reported lawsuit of a male whose prostate cancer was not detected until it had by then spread beyond the gland. This occured whereas his physician had test results that were highly suggestive of cancer for between 1 to 3 years in advance of the man’s diagnosis. The malpractice claim was based on the allegation of a delay of between 1 and 3 years in detecting the man’s prostate cancer.
A man went to his family doctor for a physical examination. Because of the male’s age, the physician carried out a physical examination of his prostate and found that it was slightly firm on the left. This is an abnormal finding that is suspicious for cancer. The PSA, however, was only 2.35 (a level commonly thought to be to be within the normal range). Almost 2 years later, the patient went back for another physical. The doctor at this point recorded no abnormalities with the prostate but the PSA test was 4.18. This is abnormal and shows nearly a doubling of the previous reading. Furthermore this reading was nearly double the reading of the patient’s PSA from two years before.
Still, the physician had not advised the man that there were abnormal prostate cancer screening test results that were suspicious for cancer, had not sent the man to a Urologist, and had not ordered any diagnostic testing (such as a biopsy) to determine whether the abnormal test results were due to cancer or to a benign reason. It was not until the third year after the initial finding that the man’s doctor finally referred him to a Urologist (who found the cancer) after a PSA of 6.8.
By the time of the diagnosis, it turned out the man had advanced prostate cancer that had spread outside the gland. The man pursued a lawsuit against his family doctor for the delayed diagnosis of the cancer. The physician, though, argued that he had not received a copy of the PSA test and therefore he was not aware of the rise in the man’s PSA. The physician also claimed that the delay in finding the cancer did not cause an injury to the patient.
The law firm that handled this lawsuit revealed that a settlement was reached with the doctor. The settlement happened over 7 years after the person’s diagnosis and he had not experienced a return of the cancer during that time. The reported amount of the settlement was $ 500,000.
The preceeding is not meant to be taken as medical advice. It is also not legal advice. It is just intended as general information. Should you have any health concerns seek advice from a physician at once.
The end result of this case supports the conclusion that in case a doctor fails to follow up on abnormal test results and the ensuing lapse of time allows the patient’s disease and prospects to deteriorate that physician may be faced with a medical malpractice lawsuit. Should it be the case that you learned you have metastatic advanced prostate cancer and believe your doctor failed to follow up on tests that revealed the prospect that you had cancer you should contact a lawyer.