R&B Cases & Concepts: Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer.
In this episode of “Cases and Concepts”, Romanucci & Blandin founding partner Stephan Blandin discusses the tragic loss of a 37-year-old mother of three young girls after her doctors failed to diagnose her breast cancer in a timely manner. We live in a time where having an increasingly competitive and volume-driven healthcare market is the normal. The pressure physicians face to see as many patients as possible is very real – and so is their financial incentive. Our client was a high-risk breast cancer patient with a family history and a sister with breast cancer. The lumps in her left breast and armpit were ignored for two years as the treating health system and specialists misread ultrasounds and mammograms, failed to order timely biopsies and failed to communicate with each other, resulting in late stage breast cancer when it was finally diagnosed in 2014. She died in 2016. In this scenario, the hospital was penny wise and pound foolish, taking a wait and see approach instead of spending the money on certain tests. Anyone with a breast lump needs a needle biopsy to rule out cancer. The irony in this case is that the expense they saved on not performing the biopsy, lead to a $12.35 million settlement cost to the physicians and hospital. Our client’s tragedy could have been avoided if the OB/GYN, radiologists, and surgeon worked as a team, picked up the phone and discussed our client’s numerous red flags. Until meaningful change is made within our healthcare systems, patients must advocate for themselves so they do not fall through the cracks.