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Medical Verdicts

Did untimely breast cancer diagnosis lead to death?

December 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 12

<court>Wise County (Va) Circuit Court</court>

A woman presented to her Ob/Gyn with a history of amenorrhea, along with breast tenderness and inflammation. The physician treated the patient’s amenorrhea and referred her to a radiologist for a mammography.

The radiologist reported that the mammography and manual breast exam were normal. Shortly after, the woman changed physicians. During a visit, the new doctor found a breast mass and ordered a biopsy. Following the procedure, the woman underwent a right mastectomy, followed by 2 years of chemotherapy and radiation. She subsequently died.

In suing, the patient’s family claimed that if a prompt diagnosis had been made, she would have had a 70% chance of being cured.

The physician maintained that even if the cancer had been diagnosed earlier, the outcome would have been the same.

  • The jury returned a verdict for the defense.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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