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2nd Quebec Radiologist Sued For Mammogram

November 29, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics
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A second Quebec woman has sued her radiologist for allegedly misreading her mammogram. Her lawyer says the province has a problem with mammography “quality control.”

CBC News reported that Louise Barrette is suing radiologist Raymond Bergeron, MD, for $309,000. She says she saw him in March 2009 after finding a lump in her left breast, but he said her mammogram was normal. Her family doctor later felt the lump and ordered a second evaluation. She had Stage 2 cancer and underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

“I lost my hair, everything. I am not finished,” Barrette said. She is taking the cancer drug Herceptin.

Her lawyer, Jean-Pierre Ménard, also represents Micheline Lalonde. We reported last week that Lalonde was suing her radiologist for $235,000.

The CBC report contains new details about her case. She went to Nabil Antoun, MD, for regular biennial mammograms in 2006 and 2008 (not 2006 and 2007, as we originally reported, citing on a Toronto Sun article). In 2008, she says, Dr. Antoun noticed an abnormality in her right breast and ordered an ultrasound. He concluded that there was no cancer, she says.

In May 2009, after feeling a mass in her breast, she went to her family doctor, who ordered another mammogram. She had cancer in both breasts that had spread to her lymph nodes. She has had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, and is now on hormonal therapy.

“I asked another radiologist to look at my [scans], and he told me it was there in 2006,” Lalonde said.

Earlier this month, Quebec’s College of Physicians ordered an investigation into 15,000 scans, mostly mammograms, that a Quebec radiologist had read. It suspended the radiologist from reading mammograms. The doctor’s name was not released at the time, but the CBC identified him as Dr. Bergeron.

Barrette and Lalonde discussed their cases at a news conference. The were joined, according to the Montreal Gazette, by the widower of a third woman who said his late wife’s radiologist also failed to detect breast cancer during a screening mammogram.

Ménard, the lawyer, said Quebec’s breast-cancer screening program is “inadequate and insufficient.”

“There are serious gaps in the quality control of breast cancer screening,” he said. “There is more quality control over the imaging equipment than the work of the radiologists themselves.” He said that after his clients complained to the College of Physicians, the college suspended the radiologists from interpreting mammograms but took no other action. The radiologists continue to read other images.

He suggested that the college institute random, blind quality-control tests and mandate regular performance reviews for radiologists and a second analysis of a mammogram if a patient is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

Yves Robert, secretary of the College of Physicians, said the mammography error rate in Quebec is in line with that in other provinces at about 5 percent.

The college conducts “targeted” inspections of radiologists and in-depth evaluations of those whose work has been questioned, said Charles Bernard, president of the College of Physicians.

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One Response to “2nd Quebec Radiologist Sued For Mammogram”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Hundreds Of Breast Cancer Retests Ordered on March 21st, 2011 at 10:03 am

    […] mammograms because he is no longer a member. Women who feel victimized can file a civil suit. As we reported in November, at least one woman […]