Man says prostate cancer was avoidable, blames WVU

By John O'Brien | Aug 18, 2006

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County man says the development of his prostate cancer could have been avoided if hospital staff had suggested an examination.

Chester Bellman filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court alleging that the employees at Family Medicine Center in Charleston did not provide the proper standard of care.

"(Defendants') agents, servants and employees were negligent in their care and treatment of Mr. Bellman due to their failure to offer, recommend or suggest that in addition to his digital rectal examination, that he be given the opportunity to have a (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test in 2001," the complaint says.

Bellman says that his initial digital rectal exam on June 6, 2001, could not fully diagnose the state of his prostate, like a PSA test would have.

He says now his prostate cancer has metastasized and has been told that he will eventually die from it.

"If the accepted standard of care had been followed, it would have resulted in a greater than 25 percent chance that Mr. Bellman would have had an improved or complete recovery from his prostate cancer," the complaint says.

Bellman is suing West Virginia University's Board of Governors and Charleston Area Medical Center as owners and operators of Family Medicine Center.

He adds that his initial digital rectal exam showed "small fragments of large intestine with mild grandular hyperplasic changes, mild chronic inflammation present and no morphologic evidence of dysplasia or malignancy."

Arden Curry II of Curry and Tolliver in Charleston is representing the Bellman, whose wife Loretta is also suing for loss of consortium. The couple seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as court costs.

Judge Charlie King has been assigned.

A scheduling conference has been set up for Sept. 18.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1549

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