Failure to diagnose breast cancer: D.C. medical malpractice jury verdict

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A District of Columbia jury awarded over $3,000,000.00 to the family of a woman who would not have died if her primary care physician, an internist, had followed established medical guidelines for ordering mammograms to detect breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society, and many prominent medical groups and professionals recommend breast cancer screening with mammograms begin at age 40 for women at average risk of developing breast cancer.

Because the doctor did not follow these rules and had no system in place to make sure potentially life saving tests were ordered at the appropriate time, he failed to order a mammogram.  A mammogram at the proper time would have detected the breast cancer in time to treat it before it spread to the liver and lungs.  By the time the cancer was detected, even with aggressive treatment and chemo, it was too late.

This patient, a single mom, left two children who were the beneficiaries of this wrongful death medical malpractice case.