Breast cancer misdiagnosis results in unnecessary mastectomy

Last week on our Joliet medical malpractice law blog, we had mentioned that there is still much debate amongst medical professionals and patient safety groups about whether or not doctors are over screening and over treating women for breast cancer. Breast cancer screenings save many lives every year by detecting cancer in its early stages before it progresses in women. However, these screenings and medical tests can also lead to a misdiagnosis.

When a woman is misdiagnosed with breast cancer as a result of a medical professional’s mistake, the patient could receive unnecessary treatment that is costly and harmful. In some cases, women could even undergo unnecessary operations. In one recently resolved medical malpractice lawsuit, a woman had undergone a mastectomy to remove a lump that her doctor had said was cancerous. The woman later discovered that the lump was not cancerous.

After reviewing the patient’s case, a U.S. judge concluded that the woman’s doctor and the medical center where the biopsy had been performed had both committed medical malpractice. The judge awarded the victim more than $964,000 in damages for the breast cancer misdiagnosis.

The woman’s complaint stated that she had a lump in her left breast. In January 2006, she underwent a needle core biopsy. The woman was later informed by her pathologist that the tissue from the biopsy showed that she had cancer. This prompted the patient to have a mastectomy performed. More tissue was tested after the surgery. But this time, the test results revealed that the woman did not have cancer.

The woman’s medical malpractice award will cover her current and future medical expenses resulting from the unnecessary operation. The award also covers other damages, such as pain and suffering.

Source: Outpatient Surgery, “Unneeded Mastectomy Lawsuit Brings Patient Nearly $1 Million,” David Bernard, Nov. 7, 2012

  • Our firm has experience assisting Illinois families harmed by medical malpractice, including a misdiagnosis. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Will County medical malpractice page.

Failure to Diagnose

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