Defense Verdict in a Case of Alleged Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
Our Claims and Legal team secured a medical malpractice defense verdict in Queens County Supreme Court on behalf of an internist in a case involving an allegation of a delay in diagnosing cancer resulting in metastatic breast cancer in a 28-year old female.
The allegation period began on February 9th when the patient consulted a plastic surgeon for cosmetic breast augmentation. The surgeon referred the patient to our defendant internist for medical clearance prior to the operation. The defendant performed a physical examination on February 20th and the patient underwent breast augmentation surgery on March 1st. In early June, the patient noticed a lump in her right breast and was subsequently diagnosed with metastatic bilateral ductal carcinoma on July 20th. The patient was treated with chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and radiation therapy. Eight months later the patient brought suit against the internist alleging that he failed to identify her breast cancer during the preoperative clearance. The defense team moved for summary judgment in the case; however, the motion was denied.
At trial, the defense team was able to show that the internist had performed a thorough examination, even performing a breast exam – something that is not routinely performed during preoperative clearance. The internist appropriately documented that he did not detect any breast masses or lumps. Furthermore, our defendant internist obtained and documented a family history which did not reveal any hereditary disposition towards cancer. Given the patients young age, lack of family history and thorough physical examination, the defense argued that it was entirely appropriate not to have any further workup for breast cancer in this patient. The jury agreed with the argument by the defense and found that our internist had not departed from the standard of care in this case.