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OPENING ARGUMENTS- Sally’s Cancer Goes Undiagnosed for Over a Year and a Half

Sally was only 23 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IIIB breast cancer. One year earlier when she had complained of a lump in her breast, he radiology technician at the mammogram office told her she was too young to have breast cancer. Sally believed her.

 

Sally was 22 years old when she felt a lump in her breast. She immediately went to her gynecologist who immediately sent her for a sonogram and a mammogram. The technician told her she just had cystic breasts and it was nothing to worry about. Sally believed her. Why wouldn’t she? These health care providers were there to help her.

 

The radiology technician told Sally to make an appointment with her gynecologist to get the official results in a few days. Sally didn’t know that a doctor specializing in reading and interpreting sonograms and mammograms was supposed to come in to personally examine her. The radiologists do that when the patient is young and the imaging tests are inconsistent with what the patient is complaining of clinically.

 

But Sally didn’t know that because nobody told her that. So Sally went her merry way feeling reassured that she didn’t have cancer.

 

She tried to make an appointment for a breast surgeon, but the one that her gynecologist recommended didn’t take her insurance. She also tried to make an appointment with her gynecologist to get the official results but her gyn had gone out on maternity leave. She was offered the chance to see another doctor, a man, but Sally didn’t want to see a man. She felt comfortable with a woman doctor.

 

Since Sally was told that the breast lump was normal and just cystic, she didn’t feel the need to see the breast surgeon. Nor was she able to see her doctor for follow up because she wasn’t working at the office now. Weeks later she called the gyn office and got a nurse on the phone. The nurse pulled up her test results and told Sally that all was normal.

 

That was it. Nothing about whether she followed up with a breast surgeon. Nothing about coming back in for a follow up in a few months. Nothing.

 

A year and a half later, the lump returned with a vengeance. The nipple was leaking fluid. It was misshaped. It was getting larger by the day. A breast surgeon had the unpleasant task of telling Sally she had advanced metastatic breast cancer. And she was only 23 years old.

 

Turns out that the radiology facility violated the basic standards of good medical care.

Turns out that the radiology technician violated the standard of care.

 

Their own rules and regulations required that a radiology doctor personally evaluate and examine a young patient who had complained of a breast lump but sonogram and mammogram showed it was normal. They violated their own rules.

 

The radiology tech told the patient the results, though at first ever denied doing so.

This was a clear violation of the standard of care.

This violation gave Sally the reassurance and confidence that all was Ok.

 

The other variables that the breast surgeon didn’t take her insurance and her gyn went out on maternity leave was just pure bad luck that didn’t affect the violations by the radiology technician and radiology facility.

 

And the nurse in the gyn’s office? She just read from a report without knowing why the patient was sent for the testing and what other instructions she’d been given. She never even asked whether she’d done what the gyn had prescribed.

 

You’re going to hear from the radiology tech and the supervisor in the radiology facility. You’re going to hear their lies in their own words. You’re going to hear about the conversation Sally had with them. Sally’s going to tell you exactly what they said.

 

You’re going to hear the supervisor tell you that the rules in that medical facility required a radiologist to personally examine a patient with a breast lump whose sonogram was normal. Their rules. Not ours.

 

Why is that a big deal?

Because if they had followed the rules and regulations designed to protect the health and safety of patients, Sally’s cancer would have been diagnosed much earlier leading to earlier treatment and a better prognosis.

 

You’re going to hear the lie that the radiology tech didn’t tell Sally what the results were or that she never reassured her it wasn’t cancer. Sally is going to tell you exactly what the tech said giving her the false sense of security that all was well.

 

You’re also going to hear the lie that “I’d never tell a patient that she’s too young to have cancer.” Sally will tell you that’s exactly what the radiology supervisor said, again reassuring her that everything was fine and she really didn’t need to see the breast surgeon.

 

If the radiology tech had done what she was supposed to do, Sally would have urgently gotten another referral to a breast surgeon for evaluation. He’d have done a biopsy which would have revealed the lump was cancerous. Since it was small and hadn’t yet spread, she could have simply had the lump removed and she’d have an excellent prognosis.

 

Now? It’s too late.

Sally’s prognosis is terrible.

She’ll be remarkably lucky if she goes five years without her cancer spreading and killing her. Her doctors don’t think she’ll be that lucky since her cancer was far advanced when it was finally detected.

 

These health care providers were careless.

They violated their own rules and regulations.

Regulations designed to protect the health and well being of their patients.

As a result of those violations, Sally is going to undergo many cycles of chemotherapy and many cycles of radiation therapy.

As a result of those violations, Sally will likely die an early death.

 

She’s only 23 years old.

She’s someone’s daughter.

She still has a life to live.

She has her whole life ahead of her.

 

She will never find the love of her life.

She will never get married and have kids since the chemo killed off all her eggs.

She couldn’t even harvest her eggs before starting chemo because doctors told her every day she waits, puts her closer to death.

 

Sally’s life is going to be cut short, all because of careless people who violated their own rules and protocol. Tragic really when you think that all this could have been prevented.

 

To learn more I invite you to watch the quick video below...


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer