Settlement Due to Delayed Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
A Poland, Maine man, Micheal Whittier, has secured a malpractice settlement due to an error in electronic medical records that led to a delayed cancer diagnosis. This case highlights the critical role of accurate and timely record-keeping in patient care.
HCN Medical Memo
This case underscores the importance of diligent record-keeping and communication in healthcare. As healthcare professionals, we must ensure that critical information is not lost in the transition between systems or physicians. This will enable us to provide timely and appropriate care to our patients.
- Whittier’s enlarged prostate and elevated PSA levels were first noted in 2016.
- Despite these findings, there was no follow-up or communication of these results for nearly four years.
- In 2020, a new physician ordered a urology consultation, leading to a prostate cancer diagnosis.
- By the time of his prostatectomy in 2021, the cancer had already spread beyond the prostate.
- The malpractice complaint alleged negligence in failing to import lab results into the new system.
- A settlement was reached on October 1, 2023, but the amount has not been disclosed.
“It’s important not to blindly trust all outside inputs. Physicians need to ensure they understand where system inputs originated and be sure to verify they are accurate with the patient and/or caregiver. By reviewing medical history, problem lists, past surgeries, allergies, and hospitalizations, physicians are able to validate system-generated medical history with the patient or caregiver.”
– Chad Anguilm, Vice President of Growth at Medical Advantage
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