A New York medical malpractice lawyer was able to move a case forward on behalf of a woman whose doctor did not appropriately follow up after she consulted him regarding a tumor in her breast. The problem began when the woman detected a mass in her right breast during a self-exam. She consulted the defendant doctor, who both examined her and had a mammogram performed. The mammogram was inconclusive, but the exam revealed, in the words of the doctor, that there was “something there.” Specifically, the doctor realized that the tumor had grown quickly, but concluded based on the mammogram that cancer was unlikely. Nonetheless, the doctor recommended that a biopsy be performed immediately. The woman had the biopsy performed by a specialist, who called the woman’s doctor and recommended that the lump be removed. Unfortunately, this was never communicated to the woman, nor was she advised to come in for a follow-up exam. Doctors in New York City and Queens must be on the lookout for this type of situation which can turn into malpractice.
Subsequently, the woman noticed that the lump was becoming more visible and changing shape. She went back to the doctor, and had a second examination, a mammogram, and a sonogram. Based on these test, the doctor changed his mind and concluded that she “probably” had cancer. A second biopsy was performed, and this time the woman was advised that she had “invasive cancer.” Unfortunately, by this time eleven months had transpired, and the woman’s conditioned had worsened.
The court ultimately allowed a case against the doctor to go forward because of the lack of appropriate follow-up care. The court focused on the “layperson’s report” – the report that the doctor gave his patient – and noted that the report did not indicate that the lump was suspicious or possibly malignant, did not indicate that other examinations were necessary, and did not check boxes for further consultations, surgical or otherwise.