Doctor Misinterprets Test ResultsNovember 15, 2017
Cancer screening tests can be extremely effective at determining whether a patient is at risk for developing certain types of cancer. For example, women who have a family history of breast cancer can be tested for a BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation that would confirm whether they are at an increased risk for developing breast cancer. While the tests are effective, if the doctor fails to correctly interpret the test results, it can cause unnecessary pain and suffering for the patient. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to an Oregon woman after her doctor misinterpreted her genetic test results, which lead to the patient undergoing a double mastectomy and hysterectomy at her doctor’s recommendation.
In this case, during her annual 2015 exam, the patient told her doctor that she was concerned about her family history of cancer, so the doctor recommended that she be tested for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation. When the results came in, she was told that she had the MLH1 gene mutation, as well as Lynch Syndrome, which increases the risk of certain cancers, including colon, rectum, ovarian, uterine, and others. She was promptly referred to specialists who would perform a hysterectomy and mastectomy.
In August of 2016, the patient underwent a total hysterectomy, followed by a prophylactic bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy two months later, which included reconstructive breast implants. In addition to two unnecessary major surgeries, she also had to go in for over 10 additional corrective surgeries to manage complications from the double mastectomy surgery. The physical and emotional toll this ordeal took on the patient was significant. In fact, she shared that she had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the experience.
Patients Urged to Seek Second Opinions
Had the patient’s doctor read the tests results accurately, she would have been spared this ordeal. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when she was reviewing her medical records, that she discovered the results were stated as negative. She was devastated, and could not understand how a medical mistake like this could have been made. In hindsight, knowing what she knows now and what she had to go through, she would have gotten a second opinion. Joseph Fins, Chief of Medical Ethics at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, said that every patient can and should get a second opinion and that it would be worrisome if a physician’s recommendations were opposed by another medical professional. Reading test results incorrectly, or misinterpreting them, can have devastating consequences on a patient’s health and well-being.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Negligence
If a healthcare professional incorrectly interpreted test results causing you unnecessary physical and emotional pain from an unwarranted medical procedure, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeVIness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Protecting your rights is our top priority and we will not stop until justice has been served. We will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your ordeal. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.