Misdiagnosis Leads to Unnecessary Removal of Breasts and Uterus
November 29, 2017
A 36-year-old woman from Oregon recently underwent radical surgery to remove her uterus, ovaries, and both of her breasts after being told she tested positive for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation. The mutation is linked to an increased risk of uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer. Unfortunately, the woman later discovered that her test results were misread and that her surgeries were unnecessary.
During a routine examination, the patient discussed concerns she had about her chances of developing cancer due to a strong family history of the disease. She agreed to genetic testing that would identify whether she had the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation, which increases the risk of colon, rectum, ovarian, and uterine cancer. When the results came in, her nurse practitioner told her that she tested positive for the gene mutations.
The patient was referred to surgeons that performed a full hysterectomy and a double mastectomy with implant reconstruction. The patient had to undergo ten more surgeries to correct problems that occurred with the reconstructive implants. Upon later examination of her medical and test records, the patient herself realized that the results of the genetic tests were misread and that she did not have the gene mutation that led to her decision to have the surgeries.
The patient is now suing the hospital, health network, and those on her medical team for $1.8 million via a medical malpractice lawsuit. The patient claims that not only did her nurse practitioner misread her test results, but also that the two surgeons responsible for the removal of her uterus, ovaries, and breasts failed to confirm the nurse practitioner’s diagnosis. Had either doctor checked the results of her genetic testing, the surgeons would have seen that the surgeries were unwarranted.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are brought against hospitals, doctors, and medical technicians when carelessness and negligence lead to patient harm. In this case, the patient went through multiple surgeries, emotional trauma, and now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She also names the surgeons in the suit for their negligence in failing to confirm the nurse practitioner’s claims before performing the surgeries.
Many major hospitals and medical facilities are now recommending patients get second opinions before undergoing any type of surgery or when faced with a major medical diagnosis. New York Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, John Hopkins, and the Cleveland Clinic now offer remote second opinion services to make it accessible for patients to seek a second opinion.
In a recent article in the New York Post, patients were encouraged to talk to their healthcare professionals about second opinions. The author advised patients to establish a partner relationship with their doctor and to discuss their desire to seek a second opinion. Patients should also ensure that all relevant medical records and test results are sent to the doctor providing the second opinion so that the quality of care and accuracy of a diagnosis can take place.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Help Victims of Medical Errors Claim Justice
If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical malpractice or negligence, contact a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at Galfand Berger LLP. Call us at 1-800-222-8792, or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.