Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is a scary and nerve-wracking time period for any patient. Patients may be put under even more stress when receiving this diagnosis if they find out they have had breast cancer for a prolonged period of time and it has gone undetected by patients’ physicians. Physicians can pick up on breast cancer through medical testing using mammograms and biopsies. Physicians, however, do not always order such testing when it is needed, and in failing to do so are missing breast cancer diagnoses. Even when these medical tests are order, sometimes radiologists or even pathologists fail to accurately read the results, which leads to a wrong test result for patients with a fatal disease if left untreated.
There are various ways a physician may fail to diagnose a patient with breast cancer. A physician may fail to perform a diagnostic test when one is needed. Physician may use a medical device that malfunctions, which results in inaccurate test results. Physicians may lose patients test results and not follow up or, alternatively, give switched lab results to patients. Radiologists may misread x-rays and give inaccurate test results to physicians. Physicians may also fail to refer patients to specialists who would help in treating their conditions.
In a case the ultimately settled, a 50-year old woman was diagnosed as having metastatic breast cancer in 2003. Sixteen months prior to this diagnosis, plaintiff had seen a physician and had a bilateral mammogram because she was suffering from tenderness in her left breast. The radiologist who received her results misinterpreted the results and deemed them normal.
Unfortunately for the patient, it took another sixteen months for her physician to detect a suspicious area on her right breast. A further workup determined patient had primary right breast cancer, which had metastasized to her right hip, right femur, as well as her spine. Plaintiff experts believed that the radiologist was negligent in reading patients test results, that the abnormality in the right breast warranted a diagnostic workup that would have led to a diagnosis back in 2002, and, finally, that this negligence caused patient’s cancer to go from a curable to incurable form. The case ultimately settled for $1,250,000.
If you are a patient who has been misdiagnosed, it is of the upmost importance that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Make sure you obtain all of your medical records that may be relevant to your claim, so your attorney can help make the best possible case for you. Make sure you make a record of when you noticed any strange symptoms. And, finally, keep track of all physician appointments and bills to help demonstrate you sought treatment.
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