Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Despite tests, Pennsylvania urologist missed huge cancer tumor

Physicians make diagnoses according to patients' symptoms and health histories. A previous condition, like a tumor, warns a doctor to continue to pay close attention to signs and symptoms of other tumors. A failure to diagnose cancer in a patient with earlier suspicious symptoms may be the act of a negligent physician.

An eastern Pennsylvania urologist and his medical group are being sued by a patient, who claims the doctor failed to detect a giant cancer tumor in her abdomen. The plaintiff said the malignant tumor went unnoticed after a surgery, tests and several visits with the physician in the year before the cancer was found.

The patient underwent a laparoscopic surgery for a kidney mass in May 2011. A month later, during a follow up visit, the patient was informed the mass was benign. An ultrasound preceded the next appointment in December, which the doctor said showed no signs of problems.

The woman left the state for college. In February 2012, two months after the meeting with the urologist, severe abdominal pain forced the patient to visit a hospital where tests uncovered an abdominal mass. Surgery confirmed the tumor was large and cancerous.

The medical malpractice suit seeks compensatory and delay damages for the substandard surgery and post-surgical care provided by the Pennsylvania urologist. The physician reportedly failed to diagnose the life-threatening condition in time to stop the cancer's growth and spread.

Malpractice may occur when a doctor does something wrong or neglects to act. Doctors are trained to notice problems and order tests, until a diagnosis is confirmed. Ignoring patient symptoms and inadequate follow-up exams, especially for at-risk patients, are careless and unprofessional.

Pittsburgh patients expect answers from health care providers. Physicians must work to uncover answers that are elusive, whether that means constant patient monitoring or continued testing. Patients harmed by doctor negligence may ask a civil court to award damages.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Academic Urology, physician sued for failure to detect malignant tumor in patient’s abdomen" Jon Campisi, Feb. 05, 2014

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