Doctors are in a unique position. Due to their training and experience, we rely on them and trust them in much the same way that very young children rely on and trust their parents. When a doctor violates that trust by failing to provide us with necessary information, the results can be catastrophic. Failing to tell a patient about a diagnosis can be just as bad as a missed diagnosis, because it prevents the patient from taking action. This sort of medical malpractice is extremely dangerous and can have life threatening consequences. That is exactly what is alleged to have happened in a lawsuit in the Chicago area.
Doctor Didn’t Tell Patient About Cancer
The Chicago Tribune reported on the lawsuit. According to the suit, a urologist told Edward Hines that he was cancer-free after the doctor removed a tumor from his bladder in early 2011. One week after the surgery, a pathology report showed that Mr. Hines had bladder cancer. Unfortunately, the doctor did not inform Mr. Hines of this result. Of course, the doctor disagrees with this statement of facts and claims that he told Mr. Hines about the cancerous lesion.
According to the suit, however, because the doctor never passed the news along to Mr. Hines, Mr. Hines did not learn about the cancer until he visited a different doctor later that year. Mr. Hines filed suit, but ultimately passed away, so the suit had to be taken over by his daughter Amber Hines. She claims that her dad would have been more likely to survive the cancer if he had known about it earlier. She said in an interview, “We went an entire year without treatment, which was extremely devastating.”
Seemingly supporting Mr. Hines and his daughter’s claims, once Mr. Hines returned to the medical center complaining of bladder pain, and was diagnosed with invasive bladder cancer, he took many steps to fight his illness. He went through chemotherapy, had his bladder removed, and even had his prostate removed in an attempt to fight the disease.
Results of Delayed Diagnosis in Bladder Cancer
While the courts have not yet decided whether the doctor in Mr. Hines’ case contributed to his death by not telling him about the cancer, what is known is that delayed diagnosis in bladder cancer cases can be deadly. A study called “Delays in Diagnosis and Bladder Cancer Mortality” in the journal Cancer, found that patients who had a delay of 9 months were more likely to die from bladder cancer than patients who were diagnosed within 3 months. The study concluded that a “delay in the diagnosis of bladder cancer increase[s] the risk of death from disease independent of tumor grade and or disease stage. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie these delays may improve outcomes among patients with bladder cancer.” So it seems that if this doctor did not tell Mr. Hines about the cancer, and Mr. Hines then did not learn about the cancer for almost a year, that delay contributed to his death.
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