High Court action settled for €525,000 by woman after her husband died from prostate cancer
A woman has settled a High Court Action for €525,000. She was suing over the care of her late husband who later passed away from prostate cancer. He was 56 years old when he died in January 2015.
His wife was taking an action against two doctors who were linked to a particular health clinic in Tipperary at the time. The deceased was a patient of the two doctors.
The judge in this case was informed that the settlement was without an admission of liability.
It was claimed that the deceased attended the GP surgery in late February 2003, presenting with symptoms of gout. Blood tests were suggested, but were not taken. He attended again in March 2003 presenting with foot symptoms, at which time, blood tests were conducted.
It was claimed that the blood test results indicated a prostate specific antigen level, which was outside of the normal range for a man of his age (44 years old at the time of presentation to the GP surgery). However, it was also claimed, that there was no further investigation on foot of this test result discovery, and the deceased was not transferred to a consultant to deal with the matter.
After a further four years, a claim was made that another blood test showed highly elevated levels of the prostate specific antigen, and at this time, the deceased was referred for further treatment and investigation.
Within the proceedings in court, it was claimed that there was an alleged failure to follow up on initial blood tests that were shown to be abnormal. The deceased was ultimately diagnosed then with prostate cancer and passed away in January 2015 at the age of 56 years old.
The judge in the case approved the settlement, and extended his sympathies to the family on their loss.
According to a study by www.trendsinmenshealth.com , the average time that it takes for a man to receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer from first relevant presentation in England is 55 days. This compares to 14 days for breast cancer and the 28 day target that the NHS is working towards for 2020. The data comes from the National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis which is available in The British Journal of General Practice http://bjgp.org/content/68/666/e63 (click here for further review of statistics). While diagnosis of prostate cancer was shown to be one of the slowest, GP’s identified avoidable delays in 22% of the prostate cancer diagnosis pathways. This compared to just 7% of breast cancer cases. The Director of Support and Influencing at Prostate Cancer UK has stated:
‘It is clear that it often takes far too long to get a diagnosis for cancer in the UK. Part of the issue for prostate cancer is that until recently men with raised PSA levels only had an MRI scan after undergoing a biopsy – a procedure which often needs time to heal before an accurate MRI scan can take place.’
A trial conducted last year called PROMIS, demonstrated that if a man had a multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) prior to having a biopsy to test for prostate cancer, could help reduce waiting times, by cutting out the lagging time in between procedures, tests and treatments. It is hoped that in many areas of the UK, that this procedure will be made a routine part of the prostate cancer diagnostic process, in the hope that men would benefit from improved accuracy and speed of diagnosis as soon as possible.
Prostate cancer diagnosis delays
The British Journal of General Medicine
Irish Cancer Society – “Symptoms and diagnosis of prostate cancer”