The Toronto Sun reported late last week on a tragic hospital mistake that may have extremely damaging consequences for the patient.
The 65- year old victim visited her doctor in February to receive an annual mammogram. The initial results indicated bad news-two lumps were discovered. A second follow-up mammogram revealed even more troubling results, three more lumps were found. It was at that point, in early April, that she received a biopsy with the results to be sent to her doctor within three weeks.
She had not received any word for four weeks at which point she called her doctor’s office. During the call the medical secretary at first said that she didn’t have the results but then said, “wait, I have it, everything is OK.”
Unfortunately, everything was not OK. In fact, the doctor never did receive the biopsy results. Eventually, over six months after the first mammogram, the victim discovered that her doctor had never gotten the test results in any form.
The delay meant that was that precious time was lost in treating the breast cancer. Her chemotherapy is now just beginning, whereas it would have actually been completed already if the test results had been timely delivered. Consequently, one of the patient’s breast will likely be removed, something that may have been avoided if treatment began earlier. The advancement of the cancer meant that the mastectomy was likely the only available treatment option.
The victimized patient in this case shared some words that our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin and Perconti know all too well. She explained, “They (health professionals) hold our lives in their hands. We trust them the same as we trust the anaesthetist when we have an operation.”
It is that trust that must be respected by all those involved in the medical care process-from the surgeon to the doctor’s office secretarial staff. There is no excuse for paperwork errors that cause severe complications in patient treatment. If you have ever fallen victim to one of these mistakes, contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.