Timothy M. Richardson And Daniel E. O'Brien Finalize Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer Settlement For $1,325,000 With Gynecologist, Radiological Facility And Radiologist.

Cook County — November 1, 2021

On November 1, 2021, Timothy M. Richardson and Daniel E. O'Brien finalized a $1,325,000 settlement in a misdiagnosed breast cancer case involving a 50-year-old woman. The matter was settled after the plaintiff presented her expert witnesses and cross-examined all four defense experts at deposition.

In January of 2014, the plaintiff, who was 43 years old, appeared at her gynecologist’s office for her annual exam with complaints of a new breast mass that was about two centimeters in size. The mass was located on the extreme right medial breast which is considered an uncommon location. The defendant's gynecologist decided to aspirate the mass with a syringe to determine if it was blood or fluid-filled. After aspirating blood from the mass, the defendant's gynecologist decided to dump the bloody fluid down the sink rather than having it sent to cytology for proper examination. Additionally, the defendant's gynecologist decided to use an abdominal ultrasound transducer to radiograph the mass rather than a required breast ultrasound transducer. The defendant's gynecologist claimed that the mass was not on the breast but rather was on the sternum, so no further workup was necessary. The gynecologist failed to include breast cancer in his differential diagnosis which would have required referring the plaintiff for a specialized radiological workup and a referral to a specialist for a breast biopsy.

Defendant's gynecologist claimed that he did order a diagnostic mammogram, but the defendant's radiologist and the defendant's radiological facility instead performed a standard screening mammogram instead. However, the defendant's radiological facility and defendant's radiologist claimed that the defendant's gynecologist failed to properly fill out an order for a diagnostic mammogram and therefore only a screening mammogram was performed. Plaintiff further alleged that the defendant radiologist misinterpreted the screening mammogram and failed to report the appearance of this right medial mass.

In addition to presenting expert witnesses in gynecology and radiology to show that defendants deviated from the standard of care, Mr. Richardson and Mr. O’Brien presented expert witnesses in oncology and pathology to establish that defendants’ negligence resulted in harm and damages to the plaintiff. When the plaintiff’s breast cancer was finally diagnosed by another physician in November of 2015, the mass had grown from two centimeters to five centimeters. Plaintiff presented expert testimony that the breast cancer progressed from Stage I in January of 2014 to Stage III by November of 2015. Additionally, at the time of diagnosis in November, studies showed that the breast cancer had metastasized regionally to three of the 21 axillary lymph nodes. Plaintiff underwent surgical treatment and chemotherapy. To date, she has been cancer-free.

Defendants argued that based on the plaintiff's cancer biology, her treatment would have the same in 2014 as she received in 2015. Additionally, the defendants claimed that since the plaintiff has not had a cancer recurrence for over 6 years that she will not likely have a recurrence in the future. Plaintiff presented expert testimony that the plaintiff was at an increased risk for cancer recurrence in the next 10 years. Plaintiff also presented expert testimony that she was likely node negative in January of 2014. Defendants however contended that based on the size of the mass she likely already had microscopic nodal metastasis even in January of 2014.

 Three confidential insurance companies paid the settlement amount.

American Association of Justice American Board of Trial Advocates Illinois State Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
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