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Faked Mammogram Results Bring Indictment

September 8, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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Given the medical nature of the accusation, the charges themselves seem odd: 10 felony counts of computer forgery and 10 counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct. That’s the indictment handed up on Tuesday by a Georgia grand jury in the case of a hospital worker who allegedly faked negative results for 1,289 mammograms at Perry Hospital in Perry, Georgia.

You may remember the case from April, when the news broke that 900 mammograms (the estimated total at the time) from January 22, 2009, through April 1, 2010, were never read by a radiologist. Instead, a woman identified by the hospital as a “radiology tech” allegedly logged on to a computer system using a radiologist’s identity and marked the mammogram results as negative.

It turns out, said Chief Assistant Houston County District Attorney Jason Ashford, that 10 of the mammogram results were actually positive; hence the two sets of 10 charges against Rachael Michelle Rapraeger, 30, of Macon, Georgia. She’s the former Perry Hospital tech, who was fired on April 6 after the hospital discovered the deception.

The Telegraph newspaper of Macon reported that Ashford declined to say whether the results were positive for breast cancer or for other breast abnormalities.

The hospital’s operator, Houston Healthcare System, Inc., released a statement saying that it concurred with the assessment of the district attorney’s office that Rapraeger acted alone. The statement said the company was “working to communicate with all impacted patients.”

So far, nobody seems to have suggested a motive, at least publicly. For now, all we have is the assessment in the Houston Healthcare statement: “inexplicable.”

Other mammogram-related news:

  • A study in the journal Menopause affirms that menopausal hormone therapy (HT), also known as hormone replacement therapy, makes mammogram false positives more likely. The risk was higher when the hormones were delivered via injection or a patch. A new type of HT used in some countries, a drug called tibolone, seemed to interfere with mammogram accuracy as much as conventional therapy. The problem seems to be that HT increases breast density.
  • An article published online Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine examines 1,500 documents revealed in litigation against the pharmaceutical company Wyeth (now part of Pfizer). It finds that Wyeth used ghostwriters “to insert marketing messages into articles published in medical journals” promoting Wyeth’s HT drug Prempro. Among its conclusions: “Marketing messages in credible journals have almost certainly contributed to widespread use of HT among millions of women who had no medical indication for the drug.”

Related seminar: Pittsburgh Breast Imaging Seminar

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One Response to “Faked Mammogram Results Bring Indictment”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Scanning Your 10 Favorite (?) Stories Of 2010 on December 31st, 2010 at 10:03 am

    […] Faked Mammogram Results Bring Indictment: The Georgia technician accused of entering “all-clear” results for 1,289 mammograms before they could be seen by a doctor was freed after posting $50,000 bail. In November, she entered a plea of “not guilty.” Her trial is tentatively scheduled for April. […]