Breast Cancer Diagnosis Delay: $1M Settlement

2015 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Delay in diagnosis of breast cancer results in Stage III disease in 47-year-old woman

The plaintiff was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in April 2011 at the age of 47. She suffered a 13-month delay in diagnosis, allowing the cancer to spread from her right breast to her lymph nodes.

Plaintiff had a history of a palpable right breast mass in 2001 that was followed by mammogram from 2005 through 2009. In February 2010 plaintiff had an abnormal breast exam with Defendant #1 who noted a 3 x 3 nodule in the 11 – 1 o’clock position of the right breast. A non-screening mammogram and right breast ultrasound were ordered, which plaintiff underwent in March 2010. Imaging was read by Defendant #2 who reported benign findings and recommended further assessment of the abnormality based on clinical findings. These imaging reports were sent to Defendant #1 and despite the incongruous findings – palpable nodule and negative imaging – Defendant #1 failed to send the plaintiff to a breast surgeon or order and further follow-up. Plaintiff’s expert reviewed the same imaging and found a spiculated mass in the 1-2 o’clock position of plaintiff’s right breast which was clearly abnormal and warranted further imaging and biopsy.

In February 2011 plaintiff presented to a new provider for evaluation of her right breast lump, which was enlarging. She underwent a mammogram and ultrasound in March 2011 which showed a large area of asymmetry. Plaintiff’s expert opined that the area of asymmetry was the same area as the spiculated mass present on the March 2010 mammogram which Defendant #2 failed to identify and report.

In April 2011, the plaintiff underwent biopsy of her right breast abnormality. Invasive ductal carcinoma was found. Plaintiff underwent chemotherapy treatment followed by removal of the cancer, and axillary node dissection. Metastatic ductal carcinoma was identified in 7 of 15 lymph nodes. Plaintiff then underwent radiation therapy and reconstructive breast surgery.

A trial date for this case was scheduled for November 2015. The claim was settled prior to trial for One Million Dollars. Defendants denied the March 2010 mammogram was misread and stated the right breast lump had been present for so long that it was unlikely to have been a malignancy.

Lubin & Meyer attorney Krysia Syska represented the plaintiff in this breast cancer malpractice case.

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