Healthcare providers have an ongoing duty to provide their patients with a reasonable standard of care under the given circumstances. Most people place the evaluation of their health in the hands of their doctors and rely on the medical expertise of their physician to adequately diagnose and accordingly recommend the appropriate medical treatment. However, despite the faith most people place in their doctors, there are times when grave medical mistakes, such as a failure to diagnose a condition, such as cancer, still happen.
Pennsylvania residents may find it interesting to learn that an urologist who failed to diagnose bladder cancer in one of his patients settled the medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the wife of his deceased patient after he realized that he had failed to review the CT scans he had ordered on the patient. According to the lawsuit, a 70-year-old man was referred to the urologist by the man’s primary care physician. The reason for the referral was due to the patient having intermittent urinary problems. The urologist ordered CT scans of the patient’s abdomen and pelvis. On the first CT scan the radiologist noted enlarged lymph nodes. But, when the doctor’s office received the initial set of CT scans, the doctor did not review them and instead one of his staff members just filed them away.
The 70-year-old patient came back one year later, and the urologist sent him for the second set of CT scans. Again, the radiologist noted that the lymph nodes had grown over the past year, but since the radiologist didn’t personally call the scans again got filed and no action was taken to investigate the enlarged lymph nodes.
Nearly six years later the patient was diagnosed with an advanced form of bladder cancer and passed away one year after the diagnosis. Apparently, the urologist only looked at the man’s CT scans after he received legal paper pertaining to the medical malpractice lawsuit. Given the flagrant failure to diagnose, the urologist eventually settled the case for $1 million.
Source: Renal & Urology News, “Doctor Fails to Look at Test Results, Misses Crucial Diagnosis,” Ann Latner, Nov. 25, 2013