Prostate cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits are filed when a physician misses a prostate cancer diagnosis, uses outdated tools or procedures, or fails to order timely screenings. Patients have limited, often costly treatment options as a result. A prostate cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit may offset those costs.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men, after skin cancer. Unfortunately, many cases of prostate cancer are mishandled each year, resulting in a delayed diagnosis or a failure to diagnose the disease altogether. Furthermore, a study published in the British Journal of Cancer showed that some tests designed to identify low-risk prostate cancer may not be accurate in all patients.Should your cancer have been caught sooner? See if you are eligible to file a lawsuit
Why People File Prostate Cancer Lawsuits
A cancer diagnosis is difficult enough when it’s caught early. It can be even more challenging for victims and their families when delayed, as the lag may eliminate certain treatment options. As a result, patients and their families may seek a lawsuit to gain financial compensation for wrongful or missed treatment of their cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Primary care physicians serve as a patient’s main point of contact for everyday health issues as well as surveillance medicine. Surveillance medicine strategies proactively collect and analyze medical data in order to create and take advantage of early opportunities for disease prevention and control. When it comes to diagnosis of prostate cancer, primary care doctors should discuss screening tests with their patients at specific time intervals as recommended by the American Cancer Society:
- Age 50 in men with average prostate cancer risk and at least 10 years of life expectancy
- Age 45 in men at high risk of prostate cancer, including African Americans and men with any first-degree relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer prior to age 65
- Age 40 in men at even higher risk, typically with more than one first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer prior to age 65
The physician should thoroughly discuss the patient’s medical history and symptoms in order to identify all potential risk factors. Typically, urinary symptoms occurring in patients with risk factors will trigger the physician to recommend or order additional screening.
Medical providers have a responsibility to discuss appropriate screening for conditions like prostate cancer. This ensures diagnosis occurs in a timely way. If health care providers fail in this responsibility, patients can suffer a number of costly problems, even including premature death. But not all delayed diagnoses constitute medical malpractice. An experienced lawyer can take the steps necessary to recognize true malpractice and obtain justice for the patients impacted by it.
Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis
With a prostate cancer misdiagnosis, symptoms may be dismissed altogether, or they may be wrongly diagnosed as another condition. Providers may miss prostate cancer during the diagnostic process or dismiss it before reaching the biopsy stage. If so, patients face quite a disadvantage, as clinical evaluation of biopsy tissue is the best way to identify prostate cancer.
Steps to Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
- Physical exam and analysis of medical history
- Recognition of potential risk factors
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test screening
- Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)
- Prostate Biopsy (obtaining and analyzing a small tissue sample)
*Not all steps are appropriate for all patients. Physicians should discuss the risks and benefits of any of these tests.
Many circumstances can lead to a prostate cancer misdiagnosis even after certain diagnostic tests. Tissue abnormalities can go undetected on imaging scans, and some cancer cases have even had biopsy samples switched. According to one study, prostate biopsy specimen errors result in incorrect diagnoses for 4,500+ individuals yearly in the United States.
If a patient presented symptoms reflective of prostate cancer and any of these diagnostic steps were skipped, the patient may be eligible to file a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit. If some diagnostic steps were followed but resulted in misdiagnosis as a different cancer, the patient may be able to seek compensation for the delay in correct diagnosis.
Anyone whose prostate cancer was not diagnosed in the early stages should speak with a personal injury attorney experienced in medical errors as soon as possible. Such an attorney can obtain relevant medical records and help determine if the diagnosis was delayed or missed as a result of a medical professional’s mistake.
Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims
Medical malpractice claims filed within the past decade have targeted urologists and primary care physicians (PCPs), as they are responsible for diagnosing the disease.
When patients present symptoms, they first see a doctor at their primary care facility for treatment and a potential diagnosis. The PCP can conduct testing, but if cancer is suspected, patients are referred to a specialist, a urologist in the case of prostate cancer. Some cases are filed against the primary care facility in cases of lost records, uncommunicated test results, or forgotten referrals.
Medical malpractice lawsuits against urologists can stem from a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- Test result misinterpretation
- Failure to follow up PSA test results
- Incorrectly diagnosing a different cancer
- Failing to order a biopsy
- Dismissing a patient due to one normal test result despite other abnormal symptoms or diagnostic tests
Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Settlements and Verdicts
Patients experiencing the direct consequences of a delayed or missed prostate cancer diagnosis can file their own medical malpractice claims. When cancer misdiagnosis leads to death, family members can pursue a wrongful death suit on behalf of their deceased loved one.
$1.93 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict
One notable verdict involves a United States Marine veteran who sought care from the Marion VA Medical Center. After concerning results from a PSA test, Gunter had a series of additional PSA test, all with worrisome results. Despite tests indicating a 45% chance that Gunter had prostate cancer, he received no notice of these results. No one scheduled a follow up appointment, and his cancer treatment was needlessly delayed.
After finally receiving a diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer, Gunter filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. He sought compensation for disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of a normal life and shortened life expectancy. The court awarded him $1.93 million.
$2.5 Million Medical Malpractice Award
After receiving abnormal test results, Army veteran Steven Cooper spoke with a nurse practitioner at a VA hospital. The nurse assured him his test results were essentially meaningless and required no follow up testing or treatment. Cooper learned later that he had advanced, aggressive prostate cancer.
Despite multiple medical procedures and surgeries, the Army veteran was given just five years to live. When he sued the Phoenix Veterans Administration, a judge found that the nurse practitioner failed to maintain the expected standard of care. Cooper was awarded $2.5 million in damages.
Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit FAQs
Do I Qualify to File a Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?
In the case of a prostate cancer misdiagnosis, patients may be able to file a suit for a number of reasons including:
- Receiving an incorrect diagnosis prior to a corrected prostate cancer diagnosis
- Not receiving a referral to a specialist
- Uncommunicated test results
- Other delays in diagnosis
Patients whose delayed diagnosis ended in discovery of stage 3 or 4 prostate cancer are even more likely to qualify. Such patients likely lost the option of proper, timely treatment capable of prolonging or saving their lives. In cases where the patient dies, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed or experienced a delayed prostate cancer diagnosis, you should seek out professional legal advice from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
How Much Will I Receive from a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Patients and their loved ones have received thousands to millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts as a result of pain, suffering, wrongful death and other factors after a misdiagnosis of prostate cancer. Ultimately, the types and amount of compensation a person receives for a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit will depend on the individual case. The best way to find answers to questions regarding your specific case is to seek a consultation with a reputable law firm.
How Much Does a Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Cost?
In most cases, law firms will take on the initial burden of paying for the lawsuit, meaning that clients will not need to pay anything up front. The lawyers will finance expert testimony, securing of medical records, and court filings. They only get paid if you receive a settlement, verdict, or some other form of compensation as part of your legal claim.
When discussing your case during your free consultation, your lawyer will be able to explain to you how contingency payment works. If you have any questions, you should ask them up front, to ensure that you understand what amounts will be paid out of the compensation you receive.Talk to a Misdiagnosis Lawyer Now
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