Delay in Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
The Daison Case
In this case, we represented a woman who went for an extended period of time with undiagnosed breast cancer. This was the result of her gynecologist failing to order appropriate tests after Ms. Daison repeatedly went to the gynecologist complaining of a breast lump.
When this episode began, Ms. Daison was 37-years old. She was given a baseline mammogram by her gynecologist and had follow-up mammograms as recommended.
Approximately two years after the baseline mammogram, Ms. Daison reported a bloody discharge from her right breast and also reported feeling a mass. The gynecologist performed a mammogram that he read as normal. Roughly five months later, Ms. Daison returned to the gynecologist with complaints of still feeling a mass in her right breast. The gynecologist performed another mammogram which he read as unchanged. When Ms. Daison requested the gynecologist to biopsy the area; the gynecologist declined and advised her that it was unnecessary.
Six months later, Ms. Daison returned with complaints that the mass was enlarging. It was then that the gynecologist appreciated Ms. Diason’s complaints and biopsied the area. The biopsy revealed an infiltrating ductal adenocarcinoma with areas of lymphatic invasion. A modified radical mastectomy was performed the next month and the tumor was removed; however, by that time, the cancer had spread to other parts of Ms. Daison’s body.
In the end, after additional surgeries and further treatment, Ms. Daison was given a poor long-term prognosis, with a high probability that the tumor would recur and that she will die from the effects of metastatic disease.
At trial, an expert physician opined that Ms. Daison’s probability of a cure declined significantly during this eleven month period in which the gynecologist failed to diagnosis the problem. By the time that the tumor was removed, it was quite large and had undoubtedly been present a long time prior the eventual diagnosis. Had Ms. Diason received appropriate medical care and had the diagnosis not been delayed by a minimum of eleven months, it is likely that the cancer cells would not have metastasized to areas outside the breast. As such, tumor control and a cure would have been more likely had the diagnosis been timely.
Following a weeklong trial, the case settled for a substantial amount of money.