Urologist Has No Duty To Conduct Unrelated Preventative Cancer Screening
On June 26, 2019, an appellate court in New York held that a urologist involved in the diagnosis and successful treatment of prostate cancer, had no legal obligation to order or perform an unrelated preventative cancer screening procedure (colonoscopy). Unfortunately, this same patient who survived prostate cancer, subsequently died as a result of colon cancer. The medical malpractice and wrongful death claim was dismissed by Kings County Supreme Court Justice Marsha Steinhardt (and the appellate court agreed) who explained that there was no duty imposed on a urologist to order a colonoscopy on a prostate cancer patient who had no symptoms or complaints which would give rise to a suspicion of colon cancer.
The Court noted: "the plaintiff's expert's opinion that the [urologists] should have ordered or referred the decedent for a colonoscopy when he complained of chronic constipation...was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact, since the expert did not identify chronic constipation as a symptom of colon cancer...." Matthis v Hall, 2019 WL 2607608
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