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Faulty breast cancer diagnosis led to unnecessary surgery

Although this case did not take place in New Jersey, it provides a unique example of the potentially life-changing harm that can take place following a misdiagnosis of breast cancer. Normally, plaintiffs file medical malpractice lawsuits after doctors have failed to properly diagnose them, causing them to wait to seek treatment until their diseases are irreversibly advanced.

But in this case, the plaintiff claims that the faulty diagnosis caused her to undergo unnecessary medical and surgical procedures after the doctor overstated the severity of her ailment.

According to court documents, the plaintiff is just one of about 400 women who received the wrong results on breast cancer tests administered by a hospital in Canada. As a result of her faulty diagnosis in 1999, the plaintiff had both breasts removed and underwent six cycles of chemotherapy.

In 2005, an independent investigation reportedly found that there were serious problems with the estrogen and progesterone receptortesting used by doctors to determine what kind of treatment a breast cancer patient needs. All of the tests done between 1997 and 2005 were then sent to a different hospital for re-testing, which revealed that hundreds of women had received the wrong diagnosis and underwent unnecessary treatment as a result.

A judicial investigation also revealed that the errors may have been detected as early as 1999, but that the laboratory did not have sufficient quality control policies in place.

Following her re-test, the plaintiff learned that she had a type of cancer that required neither breast removal nor chemotherapy. She was not informed of this until seven years after her breasts were removed, during which time she "suffered, both mentally and physically from surgery and chemotherapy treatments" as well as from the anxiety and stress of believing that she had an invasive form of breast cancer.

If you or a loved one has suffered an illness or injury as a result of a breast cancer misdiagnosis, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: National Post, "Group of N.L. women sue after breasts removed over faulty cancer tests," Teresa Smith, Feb. 22, 2012

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