Tower Health and the Center for Urologic Care of Berks County are at the center of a medical malpractice lawsuit after misdiagnosing a patient.
When Eric Spangs was told he had cancer, he was devastated. Recounting his early emotions, he said he was sad and depressed and had an “overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.” When the doctor told him, “you have cancer,” Spangs noted his life felt like it was falling apart. Eric’s wife, Melissa, said, “I thought ‘Oh my God,’ what am I going to do if I lose him, we have five children.”
Later on, however, during one of their visits to the doctor, Spangs and his wife heard, “we made a mistake.” It turns out, he didn’t really have cancer. However, instead of celebrating and feeling relieved, Eric and his wife were “crushed because Eric had already had his prostate removed.” He said, “It’s devastated me emotionally and physically.”
Before the false cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery to remove his prostate, Eric had a full life to live for. At 48-years-old, he had a job he enjoyed, a loving wife and five kids, and a promising future. So how did things go so bad so fast? Well, it all began when Eric had some routine blood work done to check for prostate cancer. The results came back with elevated PSA levels. After that, he underwent a whirlwind of other tests and a biopsy.
Eric’s attorney, Aaron Freiwald, said “the error occurred in the preparation and reading of his biopsy. It was another patient’s biopsy that was put on those slides.” In the end, a medical malpractice lawsuit was filed. Freiwald said, “This is the most egregious story I’ve ever heard.”
Due to the alleged inaccurate biopsy, Spangs had a “radical laparoscopic prostatectomy, a surgery that was supposed to save his life.” Eric added, “There’s always urinary leakage, there’s erectile dysfunction. They’ve taken away my ability to be a man, they’ve taken away my emotional stability.”
How could this terrible situation have been avoided? Well, the American Cancer Society said a good place to start is to always get a second opinion from an oncology specialist. While Eric did seek out a second opinion, “they were all from the same medical group, which doesn’t specialize in oncology.” When commenting on what happened, Melissa said:
“I had faith in the medical team, faith in medicine and I don’t understand how this happened.”
Now the couple is trying to learn to live with what happened. Melissa added, “We just don’t want this to happen to anybody else…Nobody should have to go through this.”