- Family Law

Physicians Pay Out For Holding Up Finding Of Prostate Cancer In Two African-American Men

In what follows we consider two cases that provide insight into the value of testing men for prostate cancer. While there has been some discussion of late about the value of testing men for prostate cancer (in particular concerning the PSA test) certain facts remain undisputable. First, prostate cancer affects PSA levels. Second, men of African-American descent have a greater likelihood of having prostate cancer prior to metastasis. Third, if prostate cancer is diagnosed early, the man has in excess of a ninety seven percent likelihood of surviving past five years. Further, when it is not identified until after it has reached an advanced stage, there is currently no known cure. Fifth, normally doctors hold the view that at the minimum a doctor ought to have a conversation with men of a specific age about screening for prostate cancer and that conversation and any testing ought to happen at an earlier age for African-American men.

In one malpractice matter, a man of African-American heritage routinely saw his family doctor. Over time, the physician treated the man for a number of medical concerns. Most notably were prostate related ailments. Yet, the doctor did not properly carry out testing during the time the man was without symptoms or diagnostic testing to rule out the possibility of prostate cancer during the times the man had prostate related probles. When the man was 57, he read an article which described the benefits of screening and asked the doctor to test him. At the time he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which had already spread. The law firm that represented the plaintiff reported the matter was settled for three quarter of a million dollars.

Consider the next published case of a forty one year-old African-American male who had been involved in an ad campaign meant to raise awareness about the risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged males of African-American descent asked his physician screen him for the cancer. The physician did not inform the patient that no PSA test had been obtained. The patient saw the doctor again two years later. The doctor again failed to order a PSA test. This time the physician did not even perform a digital examination.

Later that year the patient saw another doctor in the same practice. This doctor performed a digital examination and ordered a PSA test. The result the mant, who was about to turn forty five, had stage 4 prostate cancer which had spread to the bone. The law firm that handled this matter reported achieving a settlement in the case as it was pending an appeal of a $2.75 Million verdict.

What these claims illustrate is that, irrespective of any doubt regarding the advantages of testing male patients for prostate cancer, not doing so might lead to the spread of the disease and in time, the death of the man : a death that might have be avoided. In case you or a member of your family was not diagnosed until the cancer had spread because the physician never informed the man concerning testing procedures or otherwise caused a delay in the diagnosis or treatment of the cancer, you ought to contact an attorney right away.