When your family has a history of cancer, regular follow-ups and second opinions can be lifesavers.
Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo represented a patient in a medical malpractice case whose proactive steps helped saved her life at a time when her radiologist acted negligently.
“Mary,” our 35-year-old client, was an extremely active and health-conscious woman, and for good reason: The women in her family had a history of cancer. She was determined not to let it also take her life and, accordingly, began scheduling mammograms for preventative measures.
After a self-examination, Mary visited a radiology center to investigate what felt like a lump on her left breast. The mammogram and further tests — including the evaluation of the lump — were negative. However, on Mary’s right breast was an area where the tissue was denser than it should have been. That kind of density is a warning sign for breast cancer. The examining radiologist should have been suspicious, but he never tested the area. Had he performed follow-up testing he would have discovered cancer in that very spot.
Mary continued to suffer from the mistakes of the negligent radiologist, who during the follow-up a year later, once again negligently read the mammogram as negative.
But Mary felt something was wrong and insisted on an ultrasound. The ultrasound ultimately revealed three tumors that the same radiologist maintained were benign. Fortunately, the radiologist then left for vacation and another professional biopsied the tumors. That’s when Mary’s breast cancer was finally diagnosed. However, both of her breasts had to be removed.
Mary came to us seeking help. Had the mammograms been analyzed properly, our expert witnesses testified, the cancer could have been halted and there would have been no need for the double mastectomy and chemotherapy treatments that Mary endured.
We used enlarged mammograms to show the jury how the cancer had spread. We also subpoenaed the defendant’s computer records to disprove his claims that he compared the mammograms side by side. He never did.
The jury found in our favor, agreed that the radiologist committed malpractice by negligently misreading the mammogram, and awarded Mary $3,000,000 for her pain and suffering. Had she not been so proactive about her visits, she might not have survived this ordeal.
Many clients are faced with the shock of learning they have an advanced cancer which could have been caught and treated earlier. If you think that harmful complications of your illness could have been prevented by an earlier diagnosis, contact us immediately.