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Medical Verdicts

Woman without breast cancer undergoes mastectomy

November 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 11

<court>Jefferson County (Ala) Circuit Court</court>

When a 55-year-old woman presented to an oncologist with a crease in her left breast, the physician ordered a mammogram as well as fine-needle biopsy of a lesion in that breast.

The patient alleged she was then told she had cancer, and opted for a mastectomy. The doctor testified that he suggested she have a biopsy with a possible mastectomy, but she chose only the mastectomy due to her family medical history.

A mastectomy without a biopsy was performed, along with removal of 11 lymph nodes. Afterward, it was discovered that the patient did not have breast cancer. The patient suffered postoperatively from lymphedema.

  • The jury awarded the plaintiff $2.4 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.

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