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A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that can be used to detect breast cancer in women who have no signs or symtoms of the disease.  Current guidelines recommend that women over the age of 40 receive yearly mammograms.  Women who are at higher risk for breast cancer based on factors such as family history and long-term use of hormone therapy are advised to undergo mammograms prior to the age of 40.  When screening mammograms are properly performed and interpreted, they can often detect breast tumors when they are very small and cannot be felt, allowing for an early diagnosis of the disease.  Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment and long term survival.  Current statistics show that women who are diagnosed with stage I breast cancer have a five-year survival rate of 100%, and women who have stage II breast cancer have a five-year survival rate of 86%.  On the other hand, the five-year survival rates for stage III and stage IV breast cancers are only 57% and 20% respectively.

Occassionally, women are diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer even though they have received regular yearly mammograms that were reported to be normal.  According to the National Cancer Institute, screening mammograms may miss up to 20% of the breast cancers that are present at the time of the screening.  These false negatives occur more often in younger women because their breast tissue is more dense, which can make it difficult to detect breast cancer.  As women grow older, their breasts usually become more fatty and less dense, making it easier to detect breast cancers with screening mammograms.

Unfortunately, there are also tragic instances when breast cancer is detectible on a screening mammogram, but the radiologist misreads the mammogam and fails to report the cancer to the patient and her physician. Our firm recently represented a 44-year-old woman who was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer despite the fact that she had received regular yearly mammograms prior to her diagnosis, all of which were reported to be normal.  Our firm obtained all of our client's prior mammogram films and sent them to two prominent radiology experts who are affilitated with top medical schools.  Each expert independently concluded that our client's breast cancer was plainly visible on the mammogram that she had received approximately one year prior to her diagnosis.  Our firm subsequently retained two prominent oncology experts who advised us that our client's cancer was still at an early stage and could have been successfully treated when the radiologist failed to detect and report it one year prior to her diagnosis.

Based upon the findings of our experts, our firm filed a medical malpractice suit on behalf of our client.  Over the next year, we aggressively litigated our client's case, while she underwent several surgeries and months of painful chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  We ultimately obtained a significant financial settlement for our client.  Tragically, six months later, our client succumbed to breast cancer.  The settlement we obtained allowed our client to provide financial security for her family and gave her peace of mind in her final months.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer despite receiving regular yearly mammograms, please call the law firm of Dever & Feldstein, LLC for a confidential, no-charge consultation.

    

 

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Compartment syndrome is an emergency medical condition that occurs when pressure builds up inside one of the muscle compartments of the body.  Usually the result of trauma or over-exertion, compartment syndrome can be both limb-threatening and life-threatening.  When swelling occurs inside of a closed muscle compartment, the pressure can build up rapidly because the muscle compartments are not expandable.  If the pressure reaches a certain point, the arteries which supply blood to the muscles and nerves become compressed, which can cause permanent damage to tissues and nerves.  If the compartment syndrome is not timely diagnosed and treated, usually by surgical decompression, the consequences can be devastating and can include permanent paralysis, limb loss, and even death.

The symptoms of compartment syndrome include severe pain, numbness and tingling, or a feeling of tightness or burning in the affected extremity.  If you experience these symptoms, especially following an injury or a period of vigorous exercise, you should immediately seek medical attention.  Doctors can perform a neuro-vascular examination of the affected extremity and, if necessary, they can directly measure the pressures inside of the muscle compartment using a special catheter.  If the pressures are sufficiently elevated, the patient will require an emergency fasciotomy surgery which entails making deep incisions into the muscle compartment in order to relieve the pressure and swelling.  If the pressure is not relieved in a timely fashion, the muscles and nerves will die, which can lead to amputation and possible renal failure or even death.  

Dever and Feldstein, LLC formerly represented a professional basket player who suffered a severe lower leg fracture while playing basketball.  He was taken to the hospital and placed in a cast by an orthopedic surgeon who wisely decided to admit our client to the hospital for overnight observation.  The orthopedic surgeon wrote orders to the nurses to perform neuro-vascular checks every two hours in order to identify any signs or symptoms of a developing compartment syndrome.  Tragically, the nurses failed to follow these orders, and when the orthopedic surgeon returned the next morning, he discovered that our client's leg was extremely swollen and neurovascularly compromised.  Our client was rushed into emergency fasciotomy surgery, but by this point the muscle had become partially necrotic and there was permanent damage to the nerves of the lower leg.  Our client was left with a significant limp and his career as a profession basketball player was over.  Our firm took on the case and retained several prominent orthopedic surgery experts who testified that the hospital nurses had breached the standard of care and thereby caused our client's permanent injuries.  After two years of hard fought litigation, we obtained a signficant settlement for our client, which compensated him for his lost future earnings, as well as his pain and disability.

If you or someone you know has suffered significant injuries due to a delay in diagnosis of compartment syndrome or other serious medical condition, please contact our firm for a confidential, no-charge consultation.    

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Failure to Provide Necessary Treatment category.

Diagnose Errors is the previous category.

Medication Errors is the next category.

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