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Doctor’s Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer Leads to $15M Malpractice Award

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A New York (NY) woman was awarded $15 million in damages after filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor she claimed missed early signs and symptoms of her developing breast cancer.

Evidence presented at trial established that in 2002, the then-40-year-old woman conducted a self-exam and felt a small lump. The radiologist who analyzed her subsequent mamogram images told her she had a clogged milk duct and had nothing to worry about. He was very wrong.

After 16 months, the mother of three went back to the doctor because the lump had grown, She received a breast cancer diagnosis at that time, meaning she had gone more than a year without being treated. The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, and a mastectomy followed by radiation and chemotherapy treatments failed to prevent the disease from also spreading to her bloodstream and bones. Her long-term survival is questionable.

During her medical malpractice trial, the victim’s attorney stressed the fact that she had done what she was supposed to do, but the doctor was negligent in his duties. Although no one will ever know for sure, it is possible that the cancer would not have spread and she would have a better prognosis if the rediologist had made the initial diagnosis correctly.

The victim’s attorney did not suggest any damages amount to the jury members, allowing them to decide on their own what a proper compensation should be for this woman whose life has been tragically altered because of a misdiagnosis.

No one knows your body better than you do. If you are ever unsatisfied with a doctor’s diagnosis, request further testing or seek a second opinion. Your life could depend on it.

MH

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.