Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

breast cancer misdiagnosis at 38 y. old

Posted In: Medical Errors 1 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • November 4, 2007
  • 02:42 PM

(Name removed) A surgeon, misdiagnosed a cancerous breast lump that I had as benign at five separate appointments spread over seventeen months. He relied on my negative mammogram, never informing me that it had an error rate up to 30% in young pre-menopausal women, like me. Additionally, he MISINTERPRETED my clinical breast exams and my breast ultrasounds, repeatedly erroneously informing me that they were NOT suspicious for cancer and that my lump was only cystic. Finally, he never informed me of or offered me the most accurate core or excisional biopsies for my ever-enlarging and persisting breast lump. Due to his many negligent errors, I suffered a POORER medical/surgical outcome and WORSE prognosis that could have been prevented had he done his job correctly. Sadly, even after all of Dr. (name removed) mistakes in diagnosing me, he did not have the decency to admit his errors and take responsibility for them, which greatly concerns me.

Specifically, after my misdiagnosis, at legal hearings, Dr. (name removed) blamed me for his errors, defending that he had told me that he was ONLY 95-98% sure that my lump was BENIGN. However, Dr. (name removed) defense is false, and had he told me that he was not sure my lump was benign, I would have told him to remove my lump and not taken any risks, no matter how small! The medical record states the case clearly and it does not support Dr. (name removed) defense. It shows that Dr. (name removed) UNEQUIVOCAL LY documented NOTHING suspicious for carcinoma and a fibrocystic diagnosis until he finally diagnosed me correctly, all too late- seventeen months later, and cancer had already spread to my lymph node!

I am appalled that Dr. (name removed) denied the truth and blamed me at legal hearings when I diligently sought after an accurate diagnosis, asked the right questions, and when he was the one who made negligent errors. For example, during my misdiagnosis, I repeatedly asked if my lump was cancerous and Dr. (name removed) repeatedly assured it was NOT suspicious for cancer and was fibrocystic. On the second visit, I asked if I needed a second opinion; however, Dr. (name removed) deferred me from seeking one, assuring me that he knew how to diagnose my lump and that it was only fibrocystic. During the third visit, four months from my initial visit, I complained that my lump felt larger and Dr. (name removed) did a clinical breast exam and stated that my lump was fibrocystic and not suspicious for cancer. I asked if enlarging fibrocystic lumps were of concern, and he said that could harmlessly get very large. I also asked if fibrocystic lumps were a risk factor for cancer and he assured me that they were not. Then he stated he was going to perform a fine needle aspirate on my lump, and I asked Dr. (name removed) after that biopsy if it had adequately assessed my lump, and he assured that it had. However, after my misdiagnosis, I learned that my fine needle aspirate biopsy was inadequate for evaluation, was difficult to read and resulted in a misread pathology that missed diagnosing my cancer and falsely confirmed a fibrocystic diagnosis. I also learned after my misdiagnosis that the type of fine needle aspirate biopsy Dr. (name removed) performed had a high rate of error and a core or excisional biopsy would have been more accurate. I wonder why Dr. (name removed) failed to inform me about this and failed to perform the more precise biopsies on me, particularly when I questioned him about the accuracy of his biopsy. Ridiculously, Dr. (name removed) defended in legal hearings that he did not perform, or inform me of the more accurate biopsies because he told me that he was only 95-98% sure that my lump was benign and I was satisfied with that. I am shocked by Dr. (name removed) false accusations and audacity to blame me, the innocent patient, when he NEVER told me that he was ONLY 95-98% sure that my lump was benign. Again, Dr. (name removed) own medical record on me does not support his false defense, as he did not document any uncertainty in his benign assessments. Clearly, Dr. (name removed) failed to do the more accurate biopsy because he made a negligent error in choosing a sub-optimal biopsy for my persisting and enlarging lump. Dr. (name removed) negligence continued on my fourth follow-up visit when he ONLY did a clinical breast exam and a breast ultrasound when I complained that my lump felt larger again and that my other grandmother just died of breast cancer. Again, Dr. (name removed) informed me that my grandmothers’ breast cancer history would not increase my risk for breast cancer. Furthermore, he disarmed my fears by informing me that my breast lump was still fibrocystic, was NOT suspicious for cancer, and that I needed no further care or follow-up appointments. About seven months later, I made an appointment with Dr. (name removed) because my lump was getting extremely large. Dr. (name removed) did a repeat sub-optimal fine needle aspirate biopsy on my lump that finally revealed a suspicious atypical cytology. Therefore, I had an immediate lumpectomy that revealed a very large 7cm tumor of which 5cm were malignant cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS, proving Dr. (name removed) benign assessments were wrong all along. A third, fourth and fifth medical opinion on that lumpectomy by “breast pathologists” confirmed that I had an aggressive high-grade small invasive HER2 positive cancer with the large DCIS. Furthermore, a sentinel lymph node biopsy was done and revealed that my cancer spread into my lymph node.

Nothing can reverse the hands of time to give me the early cancer diagnosis that I so desperately needed and deserved. I hope that others will not suffer as I have because of Dr. (name removed). I have many concerns for the public seeking care from Dr. (name removed) due to his failure to perform and inform me of the most accurate biopsy methods available, his repeated medical negligence, failure to timely diagnose my cancer, and his failure to admit his errors. I would never trust Dr. (name removed) again or recommend him to others.

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