Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet

Medical Malpractice. It's All We Do. 206-443-8600

Delays and Failures to Diagnose Cancer

A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. The prognosis is often affected by the size and characteristics of the tumor, and early diagnosis is usually the key to a better outcome. Some cancers – such as breast cancer, melanoma, and gynecological cancers – can often be detected early enough that the stage of cancer is lower and the prognosis is improved.

A major difficulty in cases involving a delay-in-cancer diagnosis is that by the time negligence can be proven based on missed signs or symptoms, it is often difficult to prove causation: the point at which detection would have improved the outcome.

Client Case Study

Misreading a Mammogram

At age 44, Molly was conscientious about getting mammograms, so she was shocked when during a routine screening mammogram a small lump was detected and a later biopsy revealed breast cancer. As her husband Mike was transporting her medical records from one physician's office to another, he found an old report from Molly's mammogram at age 41 stating that the calcifications in her right breast had increased since her mammogram at age 37 and recommending another mammogram at age 42. She had been told that this mammogram was normal. Molly had a mastectomy and lymph node removal, which revealed cancer in 21 out of her 22 lymph nodes. She underwent six months of weekly chemotherapy and two months of high-dose chemotherapy. But as a result of the negligent delay in her diagnosis, Molly's chance of surviving breast cancer more than five years fell from 95 to 25 percent.

We filed a claim on behalf of Molly, her husband, and two teenaged children against the radiologist who misread the mammogram and the imaging center that employed him. We retained as experts two radiologists, who found the defendant radiologist had failed to report evidence of cancer present on the age 41 mammogram; three medical oncologists, including one who treats only patients with breast cancer; and a physician who studies breast cancer screening and survival rates. We were able to negotiate a substantial settlement, which funded Molly's treatment and nursing care and compensated Mike for the loss of his wife and her children for the loss of their mother.

Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet
115 NE 100th St #220, Seattle, WA 98125 US
Phone: 206-443-8600
Fax: 206-443-6904