$1,250,000 Settlement to Patient with Breast Cancer That Was Initially Misdiagnosed as Benign
DATE OF SETTLEMENT
August 15, 2006
COURT AND COUNTY
AGE AND OCCUPATION OF PLAINTIFF
Plaintiff was 42 years old when she first went to Jacobi Medical Center. Plaintiff was a child-care worker when the misdiagnosis occurred.
FACTS AND ALLEGATIONS
The subject incident was ongoing between April 27, 2003 and February 24, 2004 at Jacobi Medical Center in Bronx, New York. Plaintiff went to Jacobi Medical Center on April 27, 2003, complaining of pain in her left breast, which was also radiating down to her left arm. She underwent a breast exam, which revealed a 2cm mass. Plaintiff then returned to Jacobi Medical Center on May 16, 2003 to undergo a mammogram exam when a 1.8cm density was found in her left breast. On June 10, 2003, she underwent a true cut biopsy with Defendant surgeon, from which pathology revealed benign breast tissue. Plaintiff then had a follow up with Defendant surgeon two weeks later and was advised that the biopsy showed benign tissue and was read as negative. She was told she would merely need to follow up with annual mammogram screenings.
Plaintiff continued to experience pain after her biopsy and felt the mass in her left breast grow. She returned to Jacobi Medical Center to complain of her symptoms but was told that she merely needed to allow time for the mass to heal. By November 2003, Plaintiff began to experience sharp, burning pain in her breast. On January 14, 2004, she received a needle biopsy at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in Bronx, New York, which showed inconclusive results. Lastly, on February 24, 2004, she underwent an incisional biopsy at the same hospital, which revealed that Plaintiff had a Stage IIIA carcinoma. She was immediately diagnosed with breast cancer.
Plaintiff claimed that Defendants negligently performed her biopsy, and subsequently failed to diagnose her breast cancer in a timely manner. Defendants, however, claimed that the biopsy was not performed in a negligent manner and ultimately had no effect on her diagnosis.
After Plaintiff was diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer, she underwent a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. She was confined to her house until December 2004 due to her weakened immune system.
Plaintiff argued that the ten month delay in her diagnosis resulted in a significant decrease in her chances of survival. She further argued four points: (1) that Defendants were negligent in failing to recommend she undergo a preoperative ultrasound; (2) that Defendants failed to perform a core biopsy under the guidance of ultrasound; (3) that Defendants failed to remove a portion of her mass for further pathology testing; and (4) that Defendants failed to properly follow up with her after her procedure. Plaintiff argued that these factors constituted medical malpractice.
The defense argued that the ten month diagnosis delay had no effect, and essentially did not decrease, Plaintiff’s probability of survival.
Plaintiff made claims for past and future pain and suffering.
The parties negotiated a $1,250,000 settlement prior to Defendant depositions.
This case was handled by Jeffrey A. Block and S. Joseph Donahue.