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46-year old female develops metastatic cancer after physician fails to perform recommended biopsy

Type of Injury: Failure to Diagnose and Treat
Type of Case: Medical Malpractice
Settlement Amount: $925,000.00

On January 19, 2010, F-46 underwent a core-needle biopsy of the left breast based on suspicious calcifications. The biopsy material revealed ductal carcinoma in situ. Thereafter, F-46 underwent segmental mastectomy of a left breast tumor by defendant-physician and post-operative partial breast radiation. This care and treatment is not at issue in the case.

On October 13, 2010, F-46 underwent mammography. The radiologist observed calcifications in the upper outer quadrant of the right breast in a configuration that was suspicious for cancer. Therefore, the examination was scored BIRADS 4 (suspicious) with a recommendation for surgical evaluation of the right breast.

The following day, F-46 saw defendant-physician for a post-operative office visit (following surgery on her left breast). On his physical examination, defendant-physician recorded finding no abnormalities in the right breast. F-46 testified that defendant-physician told her that the mammogram was “normal” and a recommendation for routine mammography and a follow-up in six months. Despite the report and recommendation, no biopsy was performed following the finding of “suspicious calcifications in the upper outer quadrant of the right breast.”

On June 27, 2011, F-46 saw defendant-physician and gave a history that “[c]urrently…she has noticed some flattening of the lateral right areola…”” F-46 testified there was “dimpling in her breast”. Defendant-Physician performed an ultrasound examination of the right breast and confirmed a suspicious lesion. A subsequent biopsy showed the lesion was malignant, namely, invasive lobular carcinoma. F-46 left the care of defendant-physician.

On September 7, 2011, F-46 underwent bilateral mastectomies and axillary sentinel node biopsies with breast reconstruction by a plastic surgeon. The pathology report confirmed the diagnosis of right breast invasive lobular carcinoma, 4.5 cm in size, and metastatic disease in 2 of 5 sentinel nodes. Post-operatively, F-46 required chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Settlement was reached shortly before the matter was scheduled for trial.

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