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Defense Verdict: Delay in Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

October 23, 2015

Senior Trial Partner, Anthony Sola, assisted by Partner Laurie A. Annunziato and Associate Maxwell Sandgrund, obtained a defense verdict in Supreme Court, New York County before Justice Alice Schlesinger. This case involved a claim of a delay in diagnosis of breast cancer in a post-menopausal woman who presented to our clients in May of the year in issue with the chief complaint of bleeding from her nipple. An ultrasound was performed of the retroareolar area by our radiology defendant and was interpreted as negative. Our defendant breast surgeon then did a duct excision which pathology read as benign. The patient was discharged and told to return in 6 months. The patient came back in September with pain and swelling, and then in November - 6 months after the initial visit – and was found to have a 8 cm invasive ductal cancer with metastasis to her liver, lung and spine. Plaintiff alleged the wrong area was examined by both the ultrasound and duct excision and the cancer had to have been significant in May. The defense proved - based on the tumor profile and employing doubling times - that this was a very fast growing tumor that was not detectable in May and, further, that it metastasized to the liver very soon after it first developed.  As a result, she became a stage 4 before the doctors could diagnose it. The jury found no departures on any of the 5 questions submitted. 

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