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2nd Woman Dies In Faked-Mammograms Case

February 27, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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A second woman has died after receiving a false “all clear” for a mammogram that apparently no radiologist ever read.

This is the case that we’ve mentioned before, involving Perry Hospital in Perry, Georgia. A former radiology technician at the hospital has been accused of entering negative results for 1,289 mammograms that were never read by a radiologist, from January 22, 2009, to April 1, 2010.

Ten of those mammograms did in fact reveal breast cancer, according to Houston County prosecutors. They took the case to a grand jury that indicted the technician, Rachael Michelle Rapraeger.

One of the breast cancer victims, Genevieve Cason Clough, died February 4 at Perry Hospital at age 94 after what her obituary called a sudden illness. Her family told Becky Purser of The Telegraph newspaper in Macon that even into her 90s, Clough had driven her own car, cooked, sung in her church choir, and played bingo once a week.

But after Clough was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy, her life changed drastically, according to her family. Her daughter, Joanelle Crosby, said that after the surgery, Clough “never did anything else” and seldom left the house.

Crosby said the family was told that two of Clough’s annual mammograms at Perry Hospital had shown the cancer but had falsely been reported as negative.

Crosby blames her mother’s death on the stress and pain from the cancer. Maybe. Or maybe it was the cancer treatment, including surgery, that weakened the nonagenarian—in which case perhaps the false mammogram reports actually gave her an additional year-plus of active life by delaying that treatment.

Meanwhile, nothing seems to be happening with Rapraeger’s legal situation. She was indicted September 7, 2010, on 10 counts of felony computer forgery and 10 counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct (because prosecutors apparently had trouble finding laws that fit the unusual circumstances of this case).

Since then, two of the 10 falsely diagnosed women have died, three have sued (as has another woman who was not among the 10 mentioned in the criminal case), one of those suing has settled, Rapraeger’s lawyer has filed three motions, and hearings on those motions have been continued at least twice and apparently didn’t happen in January, either, which is when they had been most recently rescheduled to occur.

Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig has said his office was reviewing claims by other women who might have been affected and that he might try for a new indictment. He has declined to say whether anyone besides Rapraeger might be indicted.

At this rate, there may not be any witnesses still alive to testify by the time the trial actually starts.

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Virginia’s Legislature has unanimously passed legislation requiring radiologists to put breast density information in letters sent to patients after mammograms. The American College of Radiology isn’t sure it’s a good idea. To find out why, see our Facebook page.

Related seminar: Pittsburgh Breast Imaging Seminar

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One Response to “2nd Woman Dies In Faked-Mammograms Case”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Another Lawsuit In Perry Mammogram Case on March 30th, 2012 at 10:01 am

    […] you may recall from earlier stories, Rapraeger was indicted in September 2010 on 10 counts of felony computer forgery and 10 counts of […]