Medical Verdicts

Did delayed follow-up lead to breast cancer?


 

Ingham County (Mich) Circuit Court

A 28-year-old woman visited her Ob/Gyn for prenatal care. During examination, the physician discovered a 1-cm mass in her breast. The doctor believed the mass to be pregnancy- or hormone-related, but monitored her breast pathology throughout the pregnancy.

Some 16 months after a successful delivery, the woman returned to her doctor for an annual exam. The physician discovered a breast mass. A mammogram and further testing revealed breast cancer. A mastectomy with axillary dissection and reconstruction was performed. Five positive lymph nodes were discovered and staged type II, grade 3.

In suing, the patient argued that the physician failed to order a timely follow-up breast exam that could have resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment.

The physician countered there was no proof that the masses discovered on separate occasions were the same.

  • The case settled for $250,000.
The cases presented here were compiled by Lewis L. Laska, editor of Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts. 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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