CASE REPORT: FAILURE TO TIMELY DIAGNOSE PROSTATE CANCER
A 65 year old man went to his family practitioner who ordered a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. The test showed highly elevated PSA levels – indicative of prostate cancer. Two weeks later the patient returned to his family doctor who again ordered a PSA test. The second test, performed at a local hospital, revealed an even higher PSA, but the family doctor did not obtain those results or refer the patient to an urologist for further treatment. Approximately 10 months later, the patient underwent a biopsy which revealed advanced prostate cancer requiring hormone therapy and radiation treatment. The patient now has a high likelihood of cancer recurrence and metastasis.
The patient sued his family doctor alleging that he failed to timely diagnose the cancer based upon the elevated PSA studies. The doctor denied any negligence and, unbelievably, argued that it was the patient’s responsibility to ensure the results from the second PSA test performed at the hospital were forwarded to the family doctor.
The judge ruled that it was the doctor’s responsibility to obtain the results of the PSA test he ordered. Thereafter, the parties settled the case in mediation for a confidential amount.
Read more about the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.