Lloyd Bell Settles Medical Malpractice Case Against Kaiser Permanente
24-Year-Old Male Dies After Kaiser Doctors Fail to Diagnose Testicular Cancer for 6 Months
ATLANTA, Ga. – October 25, 2019 – Lloyd Bell of Bell Law Firm, Georgia’s preeminent law firm for victims of medical malpractice, today confirms the settling of a wrongful death case against Kaiser Permanente for a confidential sum. The settlement concludes the lawsuit brought by the widow of Ryan Stephens for the wrongful death of her husband, who died in 2016 from testicular cancer that went undiagnosed by the doctors at Kaiser.
Ryan Stephens went to his primary care doctor, Dr. Audra Ford at Kaiser Permanente West Cobb Medical Center, reporting a mass on his left testicle. Dr. Ford did not perform a physical exam. She also neglected to order an ultrasound to investigate possible testicular cancer, although Kaiser’s own practice guidelines required her to do so. Instead, Dr. Ford referred Stephens to Kaiser urologist Dr. Barry Mason for further evaluation.
At the follow-up appointment, Dr. Mason examined Stephen’s scrotal contents with his hands but testified he did not feel an unusual mass as Stephens initially reported. Dr. Mason also neglected to order an ultrasound to examine the testicles, but instead sent Stephens home with directions to “self-examine” for possible cancerous masses.
Stephens returned to Kaiser several months later reporting pain in his abdomen. Dr. Ford thought Stephens had “muscle strain” and gave him a prescription and sent him home. Stephens returned two months later, this time reporting lower-back pain. Dr. Ford again examined Stephens and sent him home with a prescription for muscle relaxers.
Three months later, Stephens’ wife Courtney Stephens called 911. She told the 911 operator that her husband was in extreme pain and couldn’t walk. The emergency responders rushed Stephens to a nearby hospital where he was immediately diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer – cancer that had spread throughout his body, including his liver. Despite heroic efforts, Ryan Stephens died just a few weeks later.
“This was a clear case of medical malpractice,” says Lloyd Bell, attorney for Ryan’s widow, Courtney Stephens. “When a 24-year-old male goes to the doctor and reports feeling an unusual mass on his testicle, it is presumed to be cancer until proven otherwise,” said Bell. “The ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing testicular cancer is an ultrasound imaging study, a simple, safe and reliable test. For reasons that are still a mystery, neither of Ryan’s two treating doctors at Kaiser ordered this simple test. As a result, Ryan’s cancer went undiagnosed for over 6 months, until it was too late to save him.”
Testicular cancer, if diagnosed early, has a cure rate of over 95 percent. “If these Kaiser doctors had bothered to order a simple ultrasound, they would have made the cancer diagnosis months earlier, and Ryan would still be with us today,” notes Bell.
Bell Law Firm hopes that Ryan’s case will raise awareness of the signs of testicular cancer and prevent future, unnecessary deaths from this highly treatable disease.
For more information about Bell Law Firm’s success in helping people hurt by medical malpractice, visit: www.belllawfirm.com/results.
About Bell Law Firm
Bell Law Firm is Georgia’s preeminent firm for victims of medical malpractice. Founded in 1999 by Lloyd Bell, the firm has recovered more than $100 million for patients and families of people injured or killed due to medical negligence. Bell has more than 25 years of experience in federal and state courts, and he has represented clients in more than 80 jury trials and hundreds of successful settlements. Specializing in litigating misdiagnoses, surgical errors, and other types of malpractice, Bell Law firm differentiates itself with deep legal expertise, a mastery of technology in the courtroom and a compelling manner of storytelling. In 2018, Daily Report, the leading source of legal news in Atlanta, named Bell Law Firm as Personal Injury Litigation Team of the Year.
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