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Medical Verdicts

‘Unsuspicious’ breast calcifications followed by mastectomy, chemotherapy

September 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 9

<court>Philadelphia County (Pa) Court of Common Pleas</court>

In reviewing the mammogram of a 36-year-old woman, a radiologist noted a cluster of calcifications in her right breast, but did not consider them suspicious. Two years later, the patient underwent a mammogram with another radiologist, who noted the calcifications as benign.

The following year another mammogram showed a 2-cm dense lymph node. The patient later claimed she felt a mass under her right armpit and in her right breast. Physicians discovered both the lymph node and breast mass were malignant. As a result, the woman underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy.

The patient later sued the first 2 radiologists, claiming that her chance of survival would have been 95% had the defendants ordered biopsies.

  • The jury awarded the plaintiff $4 million.

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.