Time is of the essence when it comes to a medical diagnosis in a great number of cases. One indifferent or missed diagnosis may cause serious complications or death.
Diagnosing men with prostate cancer is a challenging art, but one that can be done if the doctor follows the standard and well accepted usual protocol of having their patient screened. Screening involves a blood test that looks for something called the prostate specific antigen (PSA). So, the PSA test tells a doctor how much PSA is in the bloodstream as a result of changes in the man’s prostate. As a man ages, the levels of PSA in their blood usually increase and their prostate also gets larger.
This particular test can be used to detect other things such as inflammation or various kinds of trauma, but primarily it is used as an early detection test for prostate cancer; an invaluable test in terms of reducing mortality risks. In other words, if the presence of cancer is detected early enough, something can be done about it quickly and with far less stress and anxiety than if the disease progresses.
What happens when prostate cancer isn’t detected early enough or the doctor dismisses the results as being normal for a man of a certain age? Consider the hypothetical case of Ernie, who is 65 and went to a urologist on a regular basis. He got PSA tests. In fact, in a 10 month span of time Ernie’s PSA went from 3.2 to 4.1. This wasn’t a very good sign, but Ernie’s doctor didn’t order a biopsy. He did order a repeat PSA for six months later.
Six months passed and Ernie trundled in for another PSA test which showed his levels to be at 4.8. He was correctly worried about the possibility of cancer, but chose to agree with his doctor who indicated a biopsy wasn’t really needed, because his levels weren’t that high for his age. The physician also insisted he didn’t feel anything odd during a physical exam.
Another year passes and Ernie’s PSA hits a whopping 6.55 and was subsequently diagnosed with a virulent form of prostate cancer after he finally got a biopsy. The good news/bad news scenario here is that Ernie knew for sure he had cancer, but that it has spread and gone metastatic to his bones. His chances of surviving this would be very low.
What’s the lesson to be learned here? If you aren’t comfortable with what your doctor is telling you, then get another opinion or two or three. Did Ernie sue his doctor for medical malpractice/missed diagnosis/failure to diagnose? He certainly could have given what did not transpire during Ernie’s numerous trips to see him.
When in doubt about things that happened at the hands of a doctor or other medical professional, talk to an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney. Find out what your rights are and how you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.