This story is about a man who is suing his doctor for not diagnosing his prostate cancer in time.  I thought it unusual because I know a number of men who have been in this very same situation or worse, and they have not sued anybody.  They basically just have had to live with the results of their doctors’ errors.  I remember learning in law school that only 1% of *serious medical injuries* get litigated.  The others settle out of court or go unrequited. 

I must say I am a bit skeptical about the plaintiff winning this case.  The test for medical malpractice is that you have to prove that the doctor did not conform to generally accepted medical standards.  In the case of PSA testing, there are a substantial number of doctors who don’t even believe in doing the test.  Basically, with PC, there are no generally accepted standards.

And, should the doctor have become alarmed by a PSA of 3?  I’m not a PSA maven, but in absolute terms that’s not such a high number.  I’m curious to see what will happen.  If the man prevails, it could affect a lot of us.

Anyway, here’s the article: 

  Refinery worker blames company doc for missing signs of cancer

Southeast Texas Record – Beaumont,TX,USA, 4/30/2008 7:00 PM

By David Yates

A Huntsman Petrochemical employee is suing the company doctor, claiming the physician ignored warning signs of his enlarging prostate.

Now suffering from cancer, David K. Ray alleges Dr. Lawrence W. Sanders could have helped to halt the disease before it spread, if only he had “recognized the dangers associated with increasing PSA levels.”

According to Ray’s petition, during his employment with Huntsman he underwent yearly physicals, many of which were provided by Dr. Sanders. As part of the physicals, Ray submitted to diagnostic testing of his blood, including testing for his PSA levels.

From 1998 through 2005, Ray’s PSA levels ranged from 1.3 to 1.7. However, in February 2006, Dr. Sanderson performed another physical on Ray and noted his PSA level was 3.0 – more than double the 2005 level, the suit states.

“Despite this alarming increase in Ray’s PSA level, Dr. Sanderson failed to take any further action related to his PSA results,” the suit says. “In fact, Dr. Sanderson misled Ray by ultimately stating to him that the two-fold increase was ‘normal.'”

In June of 2007, Ray was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate and his PSA level was 66.4. He was referred to MD Anderson and learned he had prostatic adenocarcinoma. Since then, Ray has undergone aggressive cancer treatment “and continues to suffer problems as a result of his cancer,” the suit says.

“Dr. Sanders failed to exercise the ordinary care and diligence exercised by other medical providers in the same or similar circumstances, and was negligent … for failing to recognize the danger signs associated with the significant increase in Plaintiff’s PSA levels,” the suit says.

Ray is suing for past and future medical expenses, pain, mental anguish, impairment and disfigurement, plus all court related costs.