Did untimely breast cancer diagnosis lead to death?
<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.