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Unnecessary mastectomy performed due to misdiagnosis

A woman was awarded $964,487 from her medical providers after a purported unnecessary mastectomy was performed upon her. This all came about due to tissue from a biopsy likely being misdiagnosed.

A lump in the woman's breast prompted what is referred to as a needle core biopsy. A pathologist reported that the tissue showed signs of "infiltrating ductal carcinoma grade I," and as a result surgeons decided to go forward with the mastectomy. However, two separate post-op examinations of the tissue showed no signs of this kind of carcinoma.

A medical review by the state in which the surgery took place charged that the doctor reporting on the biopsy and the medical center where the biopsy was performed failed in meeting the proper standards of care. The female patient then brought a medical malpractice lawsuit concerning this misdiagnosis.

The woman's attorney asserted that the doctor and medical center were negligent in their care. And though there may be disagreement to what the exact award should have been concerning this case, it's difficult to argue with the judge's conclusion that medical malpractice occurred if the allegations are correct.

Though a mistaken reading of a biopsy may lead doctors to the conclusion that cancer is present, medical providers still should only engage in invasive surgery with relative certainty that their diagnosis is correct. As this woman's circumstances demonstrate, surgeries are often more than just invasive. The results of these surgeries may be irreversible.

Without consequences for hospitals and doctors, not all medical providers will practice medicine with a high degree of care. That's why medical malpractice cases are in place.

Source: Outpatient Surgery, "Unneeded Mastectomy Lawsuit Brings Patient Nearly $1 Million," Nov. 7, 2012

  • For Pittsburgh readers seeking more information concerning failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis claims, feel free to visit our website.

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