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Failure to diagnose Ohio woman's breast cancer nearly fatal

Even with the tremendous advances of medical technology in recent decades, health care professionals continue to misdiagnose patients. Sometimes, these mistakes may be understandable as the body is a complex instrument and symptoms may indicate any number of possible illnesses. Nevertheless, a failure to diagnose cancer is a profoundly serious mistake that may be indicative of negligence on the part of the doctor and others. Unfortunately, one Ohio woman learned this first-hand.

In August of 2009, the woman was struck with pain so terrible that she couldn't move her back. In changing her shirt to go to the hospital, she noticed a large knot on her right breast. Yet instead of performing a mammogram, the hospital diagnosed her with arthritis and a fibrous cyst in her breast. The hospital predicted the cyst would eventually be reabsorbed. That, of course, didn't happen.

Instead the "cyst" grew, and she was eventually diagnosed with mastitis, a breast infection. Antibiotics were ineffective, and the medical misdiagnosis was finally corrected when a mammogram and ultrasound revealed a tumor the shape of a giant spider.

Upon examination of the biopsy, she was diagnosed with stage three inflammatory breast cancer and as a nurse herself, she thought she was dying. Fortunately, her cancer appears to have been caught in time, making her a survivor. But that survival came at the expense of 16 chemotherapies and 33 radiations, along with four surgeries.

The failure to diagnose cancer could well form the legal basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Ohio residents caught in a similar situation may well benefit from consulting an attorney experienced in all aspects of medical malpractice and procedure. The attorney may be able to aid in assessing liability and with fighting for the compensation that a victim of medical negligence deserves.

Source: The Times Reporter, "Fight for a cure: Misdiagnosed, she kept the faith," Janetta Wrikeman, Oct. 19, 2011

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