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Medical Verdicts


Was cancer missed on breast mass?

February 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 2

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

When a pregnant woman presented to her obstetrician for prenatal care, a 1- to 2-cm mass in her breast was detected. She was referred to a surgeon for further evaluation. The doctor diagnosed the mass as a cyst by observation only; he did not perform a fineneedle aspiration or other tests.

Two years later, a mammogram revealed a 3-cm lump, which was excised and found to be cancerous. The woman underwent a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy, and breast reconstruction.

In suing, the woman claimed that earlier diagnosis or monitoring of the mass could have prevented her subsequent treatment.

The doctor denied any negligence and argued the malignant mass was not the same as the one previously detected.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.

The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts (www.verdictslaska.com). 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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