According to studies cited in the The Archives of Internal Medicine, up to 16 percent of women with breast cancer experienced physician-caused delay in diagnosis. This statistic suggests that at least 10,000 women who have been diagnosed with an abnormal mammogram will experience delay in their treatment because of a mistake by their doctor.
This sort of occurrence happens too often, despite increasing improvements in screening for and treatment of breast cancer. The consequences of your doctor’s failure to act may include: failing to order additional imaging or other tests including diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, fine needle aspiration, or biopsy or your doctor’s failure to refer you to a specialist even with abnormal physical findings of the breast.
Is the Delay in the Diagnosis of a Positive Mammogram Considered Medical Malpractice in Florida?
Here is a case in point. A female patient, under the care of an internal medicine primary care doctor, was being treated for hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. As part of her workup, the doctor ordered mammograms.
In late February the patient underwent a bi-lateral mammogram. Within a day the radiologist read the right breast mammogram and reported that a large 6 centimeter irregular mass in the retro areolar with skin thickening was seen. For this situation cancer must be considered. The radiologist added that biopsy was recommended and ultrasound correlation might also benefit.
The physician’s office received the mammogram results the same day. But no member of the staff or the physician informed the patient of the troubling results and the need for immediate workup for breast cancer. Approximately six months later, the patient followed up with the physician, complaining of a rash on her right breast. The physician finally palpated the mass in the right breast and sent her for immediate follow up with a surgeon but failed to inform her of the February abnormal mammogram.
Failure to exercise the accepted standard of care showed itself in two ways: 1) failure to inform the patient that her diagnostic mammogram showed a large, irregular mass, highly suggestive of malignancy, and 2) failure to obtain immediate follow up treatment by a surgeon and oncologist for the patient after the February mammogram results were obtained.
The delay in diagnosis of the breast cancer, due to negligence on the part of the doctor and office staff, may result in lost opportunity for successful treatment entirely or may result in much more aggressive and debilitating treatment caused solely by the delay.
Do You Think You May Have a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you believe you have been the victim of a delay in timely notification and treatment of an abnormal mammogram or other diagnostic test, you should talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Florida has strict time limits on when such a claim must be brought. If you delay in consulting with an attorney, your opportunity to pursue a claim may be lost entirely.
Contact us online or call our office directly at 727-446-0840 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Even if we are unable to take on your case, we always do our best to suggest other attorneys who can assist you.