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Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer in African Americans

Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer in African Americans 

Prostate Cancer Malpractice Attorneys Serving New York & New Jersey

Prostate cancer is a devastating and deadly disease, which is why early detection and intervention are so critical to treating it successfully. Unfortunately, black men have historically faced challenges in accessing quality care to screen for, diagnose, and effectively treat prostate cancer, and are statistically more than twice as likely to die from the disease than white men. 

If you or someone you love suffered harm because of a medical provider’s failures to timely diagnose and treat prostate cancer, you may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit and recover compensation for your losses. 

Simonson Goodman Platzer PC is an award-winning trial practice with a legacy for litigating medical malpractice claims across New York and New Jersey, including claims involving failures to diagnose and treat cancer. Now, we’re leveraging our experience to investigate potential claims from black men and families who’ve endured pain, suffering, and profound losses due to medical negligence and unacceptable biases in our health care system.

If you have a potential case, our attorneys want to help. Call (800) 817-5029 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

Prostate Cancer Rates Among African American Men 

Prostate cancer, a type of cancer that affects cells in the prostate (a gland which makes some of the fluid in semen) is the most common cancer among men. 

Nearly all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, which are cancers that develop in glands and can spread to other parts of the body. However, prostate cancer is typically slow growing and early detention and intervention can treat it successfully. In fact, more than 99% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer early in the disease are alive in 5 years from their date of diagnosis. 

But while modern medicine has allowed us to effectively detect and treat prostate cancer, black men continue to be disproportionately affected. As the data shows:

  • 1 in 6 black men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 8 men overall.
  • Black men are 1.7x more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men, and 2.1x more likely to die from the disease. 
  • Black men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a later, more dangerous stage than white men. 
  • A black man is diagnosed with prostate cancer every 13 minutes, and 17 black men die of prostate cancer every day. 

The reasons for this discrepancy are varied and include various socioeconomic factors that are correlated with increased cancer risks and potential genetic factors that are still being studied. Current research has also found evidence of other factors that may impact outcomes for black men with prostate cancer. For example: 

  • African American communities have long struggled with poor access to quality medical care, a factor that increases both their risk for cancer and poor outcomes.
  • Black men are less likely than white men to be offered prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests and other health screening tests, suggesting that they may be harmed by racial bias when it comes to obtaining preventive care. 
  • Some research, including one study published in the journal Cancer, found that black men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer were less likely than white men to receive any type of treatment for their cancer. 

Ultimately, the research shows that outcomes for black men diagnosed with prostate cancer are worse than for men of other races because they are less likely to be screened or receive treatment. When these issues stem from substandard medical care, victims and families may have grounds to pursue medical malpractice claims. 

What is Medical Malpractice?

Patients and families harmed by health care providers have the right to pursue financial compensation for their damages by filing medical malpractice lawsuits. 

These lawsuits are centered on claims that a medical professional failed to meet the standard of care – meaning that they failed to act with the level of care and expertise that would have been expected of a reasonably skilled medical professional under the same or similar circumstances.

Proving that a doctor’s substandard care rose to the level of malpractice is a challenging task that requires in-depth evaluations of the specific circumstances in a case, often with the help of medical experts who have the insight to determine when a physician’s conduct deviated from accepted standards and whether that substandard care was a likely cause of the patient suffering harm. 

But while these are difficult and fact-specific claims that require a great deal of medical insight and investigation, the fact remains that doctors, specialists, and other health care professionals are subject to a minimum standard when treating their patients, and they can be held liable when their failures to meet the standard results in patient harm. 

What Medical Malpractice in Diagnosing and Treating Prostate Cancer in Black Men Looks Like

Medical malpractice claims are hinged on providing that:

  1. A medical provider negligently failed to meet their duty of care; and
  2. The provider’s substandard care caused the patient’s harm.

These two general elements must be met in any successful medical malpractice claim, but what they specifically entail – meaning what the substandard care looked like and what damages were suffered by patients as a result – will vary on a case-by-case basis. 

In malpractice claims involving prostate cancer, medical negligence may take several forms, including screening and diagnosis errors, treatment errors, and administrative errors. 

Prostate Cancer Screening & Diagnosis Errors

Substandard care in screening for and diagnosing prostate cancer can have profound consequences for patients and their families, including untimely death. Some examples include:

  • Failures to adequately collect patient history, including information about a patient’s family history, genetics, and risk factors as they relate to prostate cancer. 
  • Failures to recommend or offer appropriate screening (including PSA tests or digital rectal tests) for individuals with known prostate cancer risk factors, such as being black, having the BRCA gene, being of a certain age, having a relative diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more. 
  • Dismissing patient symptoms or complaints that may indicate possible cancer, including failures to further investigate complaints, order screening, or conduct a differential diagnosis for conditions with similar symptoms.
  • Failures to order necessary tests, such as PSA tests, blood tests, and other cancer-screening evaluations, and failures to follow up on tests and suspicious findings.
  • Failures to refer patients to specialists or experts for further testing or interpretation of prostate cancer screening tests. 
  • Misreading diagnostic tests, resulting in diagnostic delays or missed diagnoses. 
  • Misdiagnosing prostate cancer as another health condition, resulting in delayed cancer treatment or no treatment. 

Proving that a doctor misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose prostate cancer, in and of itself, does not always mean a medical malpractice claim will be successful, especially if a diagnosis comes at a later stage when prognoses are typically poor. 

As such, plaintiffs in these cases will need to clearly demonstrate how a provider’s screening and diagnostic errors caused harm and damages. For example, this may be accomplished by showing how a provider’s care resulted in preventable delays in diagnosing prostate cancer, and how a timely diagnosis would have led to a significantly better outcome. 

Prostate Cancer Treatment Errors

In addition to screening and diagnostic errors, black men can also be harmed by providers who fail to treat their prostate cancer correctly or adequately. This may include:

  • Delayed chemotherapy or radiation
  • Unnecessary treatment for incorrectly diagnosed conditions 
  • Medication errors
  • Failures to recognize complications
  • Unnecessary surgery or surgical errors, such as unnecessary prostate or organ removal

Administrative Errors

Patients today entrust entire teams of health care professionals to provide the care and support they need. Primary care physicians and family doctors often work within systems, group practices, and managed care continuums that allow them to refer patients to oncologists, pharmacists, laboratory techs, surgeons, radiologists, and other specialists who handle various aspects of a patient’s care, and frequently collaborate with various support and administrative staff.

While this type of team-based care has benefits, it also has potential for errors that harm patient outcomes. In cases involving prostate cancer, this can include:

  • Administrative errors in ordering or following up with tests
  • Medical record mistakes that contribute to diagnostic or treatment errors
  • Hospital malpractice
  • Paperwork errors when records are transmitted to new providers or specialists
  • Failures to consult with other providers about treatment plans or to share findings
  • Lab or other testing errors
  • Defective testing equipment

Do I Have a Case?

Medical malpractice claims are highly complex and fact-specific, and they require attorneys to obtain considerable amounts of information from both potential clients and consulting medical experts to properly evaluate. Generally, you may have a claim if:

  • You or your loved one had a valid doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider.
  • The medical provider was negligent in providing care when screening, diagnosing, or treating prostate cancer.
  • The medical provider’s substandard care caused harm and losses. 

Because it is challenging for even experienced attorneys to identify at first glance when a provider’s substandard care rises to the level of actionable malpractice, the best way to determine if you have a viable case is to have it reviewed personally and thoroughly by a member of our team. 

At Simonson Goodman Platzer PC, we offer free and confidential consultations during which we obtain the key facts about cases, explain how these matters are handled, and discuss whether there may be grounds to pursue a lawsuit. If you suspect that you may have a case, we invite you to request a consultation. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Prostate Cancer Malpractice Suit?

New York and New Jersey both limit the amount of time victims have to file civil malpractice lawsuits and recover compensation. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.

  • In New York, victims of medical malpractice have 2.5 years from the date of the alleged negligent act to file a claim. In some cases, the statute of limitations can be “tolled,” or delayed, when victims do not discover that an injury developed until considerable time has passed. 
  • In New Jersey, medical malpractice victims must file civil claims within 2 years of the date of the alleged negligent act. New Jersey also has a delayed discovery rule that may allow for the statute of limitations to be tolled until the date a victim recognized their injury.

Because there are strict deadlines in place, and because the early involvement of an attorney is important when it comes to conducting investigations and constructing claims, we strongly encourage victims with potential cases to reach out to our firm as soon as possible.

Recoverable Damages for Victims

Victims in medical malpractice cases can recover financial compensation for their damages, which may include:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost income and lost financial support
  • Loss of consortium / lost emotional support
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Funeral / burial expenses
  • Other economic and non-economic losses. 

Examples of Our Results

Simonson Goodman Platzer PC is an award-winning trial practice that’s recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims of medical negligence, including victims and families harmed by failures to timely diagnose and treat cancer, complications, and other health conditions. As attorneys with extensive experience litigating malpractice cases, we’re trusted by clients and colleagues across New York and New Jersey to handle the toughest cases.

Some examples of our results:

  • $18 million verdict for the family of a twin born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a severe brain injury, after a long delay.
  • $7.9 million verdict for the surviving spouse and children of a 47-year-old post CABG patient after providers failed to monitor glucose levels.
  • $4.6 million settlement over failures to timely diagnose and treat hypertension in a pregnant woman, resulting in birth injury and cognitive deficits. 
  • $4.5 million recovery over failure to timely diagnose and treat an infection.
  • $2.5 million recovery for the family of a gastric bypass patient who suffered for months prior to her death after doctors to timely diagnose and treat a post-operative leak.
  • $2 million recovery for the family of a mother who died after her physician failed to take her complaints seriously and timely diagnose and treat a recurrent kidney cancer. 

Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 817-5029

Simonson Goodman Platzer PC is known nationally for helping medical malpractice victims in the fight for justice and for championing issues that call attention to serious and systemic problems within the health care system.

If you have a potential claim involving a physician, specialist, or other health care provider who provided substandard care when diagnosing or treating an African American patient with prostate cancer, we want to help. Our firm proudly serves victims and families across New York and New Jersey, offers FREE consultations, and works on contingency – which means there’s no cost to hire and no fee unless we win. 

Call (800) 817-5029 or contact us online to request a consultation.

Our Settlements & Verdicts

Our top priority is to devise customized legal strategies that are tailored to the unique legal needs of our clients, no matter how simple or complicated their situations might be.

  • $87 Million Work Accident Verdict

    The firm won $87 million in the Bronx County Supreme Court for a laborer who was left paralyzed as a result of a work accident in March 2004.

  • $18 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement

    $18,000,000 verdict on behalf of a twin born after a long delay with a severe brain injury-hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

  • $7.9 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict

    $7,900,000 verdict for failure to monitor glucose levels in post CABG patient leads to death of 47 year old leaving a wife and two children.

  • $7.5 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement

    $7,500,000 recovery for a baby who was seriously brain-damaged at the time of his birth. Due to a delay in delivery, the baby lost vital oxygen to his brain and develop cerebral palsy.

  • $6.4 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement

    $6,400,000 recovery for a young woman’s pregnancy that was mishandled before she went into labor leading to seizures with resultant brain damage.

Hear What Our Clients Have to Say

    "Accommodating and Professional"
    The attorneys were kind, accommodating and professional. I couldn’t be happier with the settlement they achieved for me.
    Inbar V.
    "Totally Changed My Life"
    They have done an amazing job to win my case without even going to the court.
    Sezgin T.
    "Highly Recommend"
    Highly recommend!! I had the pleasure of working with Paul Simonson during the worst time of my life. He is knowledgeable, professional & he truly cares. When other attorneys turned down my case Mr. Simonson got results! I will be forever grateful.
    Dawn M.
    "I would highly recommend this firm."
    I would highly recommend this firm. Ted knows the law and did a great job.
    "I Felt Comfortable and Supported"
    They were honest and clear about the process of bringing a lawsuit forward and managed my expectations.
    Nate G.
    "I Highly Recommend This Law Firm"
    Thank you, Mr. Goodman and Mr. Simonson very much for looking out for me and always having my best interest at heart!
    Naresh T.
    "The gratitude I feel towards them is immeasurable."
    Based on my experience with this firm, their name should be empathy, compassion and brilliance. Their kindness and attention to detail was second to none. I truly cannot say enough good things about Paul, Ted and this firm. The gratitude I feel towards them is immeasurable.
    Nic R.
    "There are no amount of words that can show how grateful I am for all they have done."
    Ted Goodman was amazing in the courtroom and eloquently argued my case. If I could give them 10 stars I would, they truly changed my life. There are no amount of words that can show how grateful I am for all they have done.
    Ashley W.

Why Choose Simonson Goodman Platzer PC?

  • Personalized Legal Strategies.
  • Work Directly With An Experienced Partner.
  • Focused Practice Areas for Better Results!
  • 98% Success Rate for Our Cases!
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