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Can you sue if a mistake caused you to be overtreated?

May 14, 2019 - 4:00 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The good news is an Iowa man is now prostate cancer free. The bad news is he never had it. 

The man had his prostate removed and is now cancer free. Which is great news, except for the fact that he never had prostate cancer.  

Given that more than 30,000 men a year die from untreated prostate cancer, can you sue if it turns out that a mistake caused you to be overtreated rather than untreated? 

Not every mistake - whether happy or sad - is malpractice.

Doctors aren't perfect, but they do need to uphold the standard of care-act in a way that one would expect of a competent, prudent doctor. So, in the U.S., standard practice would be to confirm that the doctor was reporting on the correct sample rather than, as happened in Iowa, reporting the results of a different patient's test. 

The jury awarded the man more than $12 million because the unnecessary surgery left him incontinent and impotent. 

A lawyer would tell you to see a lawyer if this happens. A friend would tell you to get a second opinion before treatment so you don't have to.