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ARTICLE ID 194522

DEFENDANT’S – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – ALLEGED FAILURE OF RADIOLOGIST TO NOTE SUSPICIOUS BREAST MASS – CLAIMED FAILURE TO TIMELY NOTIFY PLAINTIFF OF MASS – DELAY IN DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF BREAST CANCER

Miami-Dade County, FL

This medical malpractice action was brought against the defendant radiologist and two treating family practitioners. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants caused a delay in diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer, thereby diminishing her chance of surviving the disease. One of the defendant family physicians settled the plaintiff’s claims prior to trial. The second family physician, who was a subsequent treating doctor, was dismissed. The defendant radiologist, and his practice group, contended that the radiologist appropriately notified the settling family physician of his findings.

The defendant radiologist performed the plaintiff’s mammogram in ________, and notified the plaintiff’s treating family physician of his detection of a breast nodule. The plaintiff claimed that the first (settling) defendant family physician never informed her of the mammogram findings. The defendant radiology center sent a letter to the plaintiff informing of the abnormality approximately four months after the mammogram was taken.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant radiologist/radiology center deviated from the required standard of care in failing to inform the plaintiff of the abnormal finding within 30 days. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant radiologist was aware that the mass was most likely cancerous, and failed to raise appropriate alarms and ensure adequate follow-up care.

Finally, the plaintiff contended that the defendant’s radiology report to the family physician was not clear, and was confusing.

The plaintiff was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in ________. Her doctors testified that her future prognosis is not good.

The defense argued that the radiologist appropriately sent his findings to the first family physician, but that doctor failed to notify the plaintiff of the abnormal finding, and failed to order a surgical consult or biopsy. The defense also contended that the subsequent treating family physician failed to review the plaintiff’s prior medical records. Evidence showed that the subsequent treating physician ordered an ultrasound, which was read as negative.

The defendant’s experts testified that breast cancer cannot be diagnosed by x-ray and requires a biopsy to detect. The defense also contended that diagnosis at the time the abnormality was first reported to the plaintiff’s primary care physician would have resulted in an excellent chance (90%) of full recovery, since there was a period of some 18 months before the cancer metastasized.The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant radiologist, which was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff. The case is currently on appeal.

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