The nurse practitioner told you that you have breast cancer.
You were shocked.
She told you because your gynecologist was on vacation.
She then created a treatment plan.
The plan was for you to have a bilateral mastectomy.
You wanted both breasts cut off.
You didn't want to run the risk that this would spread further.
The nurse practitioner set up an appointment for you with the breast surgeon.
Without looking at your imaging studies, he went ahead and agreed with the verbal findings of the nurse practitioner.
He told you that you need bilateral mastectomies.
That was the treatment plan.
You didn't get a second opinion.
You did what you needed to do based on the information you had available to you at that moment.
You wouldn't learn till after your surgery, that the initial information upon which you based your treatment plan was simply wrong.
You had the surgery.
You had multiple complications including a persistent infection and drainage from the wound site.
You needed multiple hospital admissions to treat it with IV antibiotics.
Six months later, you went back to your gynecologist for a routine visit.
Your gyn was back now.
During your visit she asked you why you had the mastectomies.
Because your nurse practitioner said I had breast cancer.
Your gyn was looking at the sonogram and mammogram radiology reports.
There's nothing there about any suspicion of breast cancer.
"Are you sure she told you that you had breast cancer?" the gyn asks you.
"What do you mean am I sure?? She told me, right here in this office that I had breast cancer based on my test results," you say.
"Oh, that's not good," the gyn says.
"I'm going to talk to her and find out what happened here..." they gyn says with her voice trailing off.
It turns out that the nurse practitioner read the imaging studies herself.
She didn't have the official radiology reports and didn't want the patient to wait.
She even pointed to places on the imaging studies that she believed showed breast cancer.
You decide to sue for medical malpractice.
You sue the nurse practitioner, but she's not the only one.
You see, she is employed by the group practice.
Or, she may be employed by the hospital.
Either way, you must sue the group or the hospital where she's employed.
Because the employer is responsible for the acts of their employees.
In law we have a fancy name for that. It's called "Respondeat superior."
There's also a legal doctrine called vicarious liability that says the employer is responsible for the acts of its employees.
In this fact pattern, you would also need to sue the breast surgeon.
Not for performing the surgery, but for failing to confirm the diagnosis.
For failing to obtain the imaging studies and confirm for himself that you have this diagnosis and here is the proper way to treat it.
Had he taken those steps, he would have realized that you did not have breast cancer and would not have proceeded forward with a double mastectomy.
This fact pattern is a real case from the midwest and the patient is now suing for the maximum amount permitted in her state.