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$600,000 Settlement After Doctor Failed to Inform Patient Tests Revealed Possibility Of Prostate Cancer

Many men have little understanding of prostate cancer, their own chances for the cancer, and how to determine if they have prostate cancer. Most male patients do not even know what it means to test for prostate cancer or that screening needs to be conducted prior to when they manifest symptoms. Yet, far too often, physicians detect the cancer only after it is past the early stages because of a lack of screening.

Delayed diagnosis of prostate cancer examples are all too common. This article will look at the following pattern: the doctor (1) orders a PSA blood test, (2) notices abnormally elevated levels of PSA and but (3) neither tells him of abnormal results (and what they mean) nor orders diagnostic tests, for example a biopsy, to rule out prostate cancer. The lawsuit below illustrates this situation.

A doctor, an internist, found that his male patient had a PSA of 8. (anything above a 4.0 is ordinarily considered high). The doctor said nothing to the patient. The physician did not refer the patient to a urologist. The physician did not order a biopsy. Two years later the doctor repeated the PSA test. This time it had gone up to 13.6. Once again, the doctor did not inform the patient. Again, the doctor did not refer the patient to a urologist. And again, the physician did not order a biopsy. Two years later the doctor repeated the PSA test. It was not until three years after first learning of the patient’s elevated PSA level that the doctor at last advised him that he most likely had cancer. Additional testing uncovered that at this point he had advanced prostate cancer. A prostatectomy was no longer an option. Treating doctors instead advised radiation therapy and hormone therapy. Neither of these would eliminate the cancer but they might obstruct the cancer’s progress and additional spread. The law firm that handled this matter reported that they took the lawsuit to mediation where they were able to obtain a settlement of $600,000.

However not following up after observing abnormal test results results in a situation in which those patients who do have prostate cancer may not discover they have it until it has spread outside the prostate, restricting the patient’s choices for treatment, and considerably decreasing the likelihood that the patient will be able to survive the cancer.

As the above claim illustrates doctors sometimes comply with the guidelines by performing screening for prostate cancer but when the test results are abnormal they do not do anything about it.
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