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  • Suworow v. Henry Ford Macomb Hospital: Missed and Delayed Testicular Cancer Diagnosis Results in Death of 25-Year-Old Man

Sommers Schwartz attorney Robert Sickels filed a failure to timely diagnose cancer lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a 25-year-old man who passed away from testicular cancer. The disease went undiagnosed for months, even after repeated physician visits, multiple rounds of tests, and constant complaints of pain.

On March 19, 2018, Brandon Cannon went to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital’s emergency room with complaints of scrotal swelling and testicular pain that he began to experience two days earlier and which had worsened since. An ultrasound revealed swelling likely due to torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord) and the possibility of a small mass. The emergency room physician consulted with the urology service. The urology service was consulted. A urology resident physician performed a physical examination and ordered various blood tests, including a test for the presence of tumor markers, that is, substances that are present in the blood when cancer is present. That evening, Brandon was taken to the operating room to untwist the spermatic cord and relieve the torsion. Before the operation began, results of the blood tests were reported in the medical chart. The tests showed Brandon likely had testicular cancer. The involved testicle should have been removed during the operation, but it was not. Rather, the surgeon, Dr. Nelson, noted in the operative report that there was no “obvious” evidence of a cancerous mass. The plaintiff’s records at the time of his discharge made no mention of the tumor marker results or their significance

As instructed, Brandon returned to Henry Ford Macomb Hospital 10 days later for a follow-up ultrasound. The study revealed the swelling of the testicle to be greater, not less, as would be expected if torsion had been the sole cause of the original symptoms. Brandon also attended a follow-up visit at the Michigan Institute of Urology, where he was seen by Dr. Nelson’s colleague, Dr. Hoff, who conducted a physical and concluded Brandon’s condition was consistent with expected post-operative changes. Although his note claims he reviewed the hospital records, he neglected to take heed of the abnormal tumor marker studies. If he had done so, he would have been obligated to conduct a work-up for testicular cancer and initiate treatment for the disease.

Approximately one month after his initial ER visit, Brandon went to an urgent care center because the scrotal swelling and testicular pain were worse. He was told to return to the emergency department of Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. There a physician ordered a third ultrasound study, which revealed a testicle that was considerably more swollen than it was when the prior two studies were performed. A urologist was again consulted, who reviewed all the ultrasound films. She merely advised more pain medication and to follow up with the surgeon’s office. No new tumor marker studies were ordered, nor was there any indication the doctor examined his earlier tumor marker results.

Discouraged that nothing was being done to relieve the swelling, Brandon spent the next three months icing his painful and swollen scrotum. It wasn’t until September 3, 2018, after he began coughing up blood and went to a different ER, that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer which had spread to other parts of his body. Despite surgical removal of the cancer and aggressive chemotherapy, the cancer continued to grow in his lungs and liver. Brandon progressively deteriorated until he died at home, surrounded by family members, in November 2019.

The recently filed medical malpractice complaint alleges that Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and the urologist who saw Brandon failed to timely diagnose and treat a highly aggressive form of testicular cancer and that as a result, the cancer became incurable and took the life of Brandon Cannon. The personal representative of his estate, his mother, is seeking compensation for her son’s pain, suffering, and mental anguish, expenses incurred due to his illness and death, his family’s loss of love and companionship, and the loss of Brandon’s future earnings.

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