Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Unlicensed Medical Professionals Can Cause Serious Damage

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Jul 06, 2020 | 0 Comments

A state-licensed doctor may not always provide perfect care but at least they are held to a certain standard and have passed the state licensing requirements to practice medicine. Unfortunately, patients end up going to a doctor who turns out not to be a real doctor. This can put the patient at serious risk of harm. 

Misrepresentation as a Medical Doctor 

Nevely Plummer began to see John Mitchner at a medical clinic in Roosevelt, New York. Plummer believed Mitchner was a doctor but Mitchner was only licensed as a Physician's Assistant (PA) After a missed cancer diagnosis, Plummer has filed a lawsuit against Mitchner claiming he unlawfully practiced medicine for over a decade. 

Plummer says Mitchner would regularly get blood tests to determine if the patient had prostate cancer. According to Plummer, Mitchner said that the blood tests were fine and that the “blood tells all.” However, diagnosing prostate cancer may require more than a simple blood test. 

After years of seeing Mitchner, Plummer eventually got an examination by real doctors at Sloan Kettering. Plummer learned that he had prostate cancer for at least a decade and the disease had spread to his bones. 

According to the complaint, Mitchner had been calling himself a doctor and practicing medicine in New York since 1995. In order to practice medicine as a Physician's Assistant in New York, Mitchner would have to be supervised by a doctor. 

Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that grows in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate is essential for male reproduction. 

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men in the U.S. and can develop without symptoms. When diagnosed at advanced stages, the cancer may be fatal. In 2015, there were an estimated 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer in the U.S.

When diagnosed timely, before the cancer has metastasized, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is almost 100%. However, if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body though, the survival rate drops to 28%.

Signs or symptoms of prostate cancer may include painful urination, difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder, blood in the urine or semen, and back or hip pain. Patients who show symptoms of prostate cancer, are over the age 65, or are at high risk for prostate cancer should be given preliminary diagnostic tests. 

Among the most common diagnostic tests are a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen test. Medical malpractice in prostate cancer cases can occur when a doctor fails to take a proper medical history, fails to order the proper diagnostic tests, or fails to properly analyze and communicate test results.

Is the Person Treating You a Doctor or Physician's Assistant? 

Many people believe the person treating them is a doctor when the individual is a more limited healthcare professional, like a Physician's Assistant. PAs can attend a 2 to 3 year PA program and pass a certifying exam to work as a PA. MDs require 4 years of medical school, 3-7 years of postgraduate residency training, pass the US licensing exam, become board-certified, and obtain a state license. 

If you believe that a healthcare professional was misrepresenting their experience or training and it caused a delayed diagnosis or injury, you may be the victim of medical malpractice. In the Philadelphia area, the Gilman & Bedigian legal team can answer your questions and concerns. 

We're committed to educating patients and families who have been harmed by medical malpractice to understand their legal rights and help obtain compensation. To speak with a member of our personal injury team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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