Failure to Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer

WRSH partner, Jason Rubin, obtained a $2.3 million settlement in a medical malpractice action involving a failure to timely diagnose breast cancer. Plaintiff, a 50 year old school teacher, went for a screening mammogram at defendant medical group in 2010. The study was interpreted by the defendant radiologist and a report was generated which indicated that it was a benign study. One year later, plaintiff underwent another screening mammogram, which was interpreted by the same radiologist as in 2010. The report of this 2011 mammogram indicated that there was a suspicious density which required follow up with further studies. Additionally, the radiologist dictated an addendum to this report that stated that the report of the 2010 mammogram study was not reflective of his dictation, i.e. that there was a transcription error. The 2010 study, in fact, demonstrated a suspicious density which was not reported. As a result, there was a one year delay in the diagnosis of plaintiff's breast cancer.

Plaintiff was diagnosed in 2011 with Stage IIB breast cancer. She underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy, then lumpectomy and radiation therapy. Approximately one year later, she developed a recurrence, which required her to undergo a bilateral mastectomy with extensive breast reconstruction, multiple revision surgeries and another course of chemotherapy.

On plaintiff's behalf, we claimed that the radiologist was negligent for failing to report the suspicious density in the 2010 mammogram and, even if there was a transcription error, the radiologist was negligent for failing to discover the transcription and signing off on the report indicating that the study was benign. We claimed that if the cancer had been diagnosed one year earlier, it would have been Stage I and plaintiff would have required only a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. Additionally, her chances of suffering a recurrence would have been substantially diminished.

In settling the case, we were able to obtain the full extent of the defendants' malpractice liability policies.

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