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Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer Causes Woman to Get Mastectomy

Published on June 13, 2016

It’s every woman’s fear: finding out you have breast cancer. But imagine Eileen Fennessy’s surprise finding out she had breast cancer in October 2012 when a mammogram in November 2011 – not even a year prior – showed no evidence of cancer. Fortunately, Eileen’s general practitioner found a large mass in her right breast and referred her for an ultrasound and biopsy. She was shown to have a Grade 2 carcinoma and began chemotherapy immediately followed by a right side mastectomy in April 2013. Eileen suffered a misdiagnosis and delay in diagnosis. Because of this failure to diagnose breast cancer, Eileen sued the company that oversees the Breast Check National Breast Screening Programme for alleged negligence and breach of duty. The company admitted breach of duty in the case but denied other claims. They settled with Eileen Fennessy out of court.

Eileen is one of millions of people who are misdiagnosed or who doctors fail to diagnose every year. In the U.S. alone, 12 million adults are affected – that’s about one in every 20 patients. And in many cases, the delay in diagnosis can cost someone their life. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will have breast cancer over the course of a lifetime; but only one in 36 will die from it. Early detection is key, which makes a failure to diagnose breast cancer case extremely heartbreaking.

If your doctor failed to diagnose breast cancer, or didn’t order the screening tests despite an indication or risk factor that you might have, the doctor can be considered negligent and held liable for your advancing illness. Likewise, if a screening was not performed properly or a radiologist failed to read the results accurately, and the diagnosis was missed (as in Eileen’s case), this could potentially constitute medical negligence.

At that point, there may be little you can do to recover your health if the cancer has spread out of control, and there is no way to bring back a loved one who has died because of a doctor’s negligence. But you can often recover money to help compensate for the financial and personal losses you’ve suffered. Even more importantly, you can hold these negligent doctors accountable for the harm they’ve caused you and your family, and in doing so help prevent future incidences of medical negligence. Don’t let other patients and families endure the pain you’ve endured, contact Knapp & Roberts’ medical malpractice attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale today for a free consultation: 480-991-7677.

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