Most of Dr. W's cases were referrals from other physicians, often from physicians with whom he was friends.
A doctor referred a man with an elevated PSA level to a urologist, but did not follow-up and ask him if he went. It turns out that the patient had prostate cancer and died from metastatic disease.
For more than 30 years, most of the patients in Dr. R's thriving primary care practice had been of retirement age. Now that he was 62, they were his contemporaries. Dr. R treated patients the way that he wanted to be treated— with respect and without unnecessary tests.
Dr. M, 56, was an old hand at the twists and turns of prostatic cancer. He'd been taught well by a urology professor who drawled, "It's just like huntin' swamp foxes. You never know what direction they're gonna turn next." Still, the professor's wisdom failed to shield Dr. M from a malpractice suit.
At age 38, Dr. K was new to private practice. He had completed his residency three years earlier and formed a partnership with an established general urologist in the Northeast.
Dr. R, a 59-year-old urologist, felt he was nearing a well-deserved retirement, but then a malpractice case derailed his final plans.