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    Failure to report abnormal PSA leads to Gleason 9 PCa

    Reviewing records at every visit crucial, especially when patient switches physician/practice

    Dawn Collins, JDDawn Collins, JDA Florida man went to a pulmonology and internal medicine group in 2006 for primary and pulmonary care. At the first appointment, blood work was ordered that included a PSA test. The PSA result was an abnormal level of 4.1 ng/mL. The physician who ordered the test circled the value on the lab report and underneath it wrote, “Discuss next visit.”  

    RELATED: Removal of cancer-free testicle prompts lawsuit

    The patient never came back to that physician but switched to another physician in the group, whom he saw over the next 2½ years. The patient was never informed of the abnormal PSA result.

    In 2008, the patient went to a medical center with complaints of back pain. A magnetic resonance imaging scan showed cancer had spread to his spine, shoulder blades, pelvis, and ribs. A PSA ordered at that time was 100.0 ng/mL. Two days later, a prostate biopsy was performed and revealed prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 9.

    The man sued the physicians in the pulmonology/internal medicine group and claimed that in addition to failing to inform him of his abnormal PSA test result, they had also failed to perform digital rectal examinations that would most likely have found a mass and led to an earlier biopsy and diagnosis.

    The physicians denied any negligence and maintained that earlier diagnosis and treatment would not have made a difference in the patient’s outcome. A jury found the second physician in the group who followed him for the 2+ years completely at fault and returned a verdict for $934,000.

    Next: Ms. Collins' legal perspective

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    Dawn Collins, JD
    Ms. Collins is an attorney specializing in medical malpractice in Long Beach, California. She welcomes feedback on this column via ...

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