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GA Mammogram Case Drags On; 4 Suits Filed

November 16, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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Remember the Georgia radiology technician accused of faking reports on 1,289 mammograms? At least four women who received one of those mammograms aren’t waiting for developments in the case, which is now a year and a half old and nowhere near a trial.

They’ve sued.

Meanwhile, a twice-delayed preliminary hearing on several defense motions is scheduled for January. We’ll see.

Back in May 2010, Perry Hospital in Perry, Georgia, said a radiology employee had logged on to the hospital’s computer system and issued negative findings for hundreds of mammograms under the name of a radiologist—without a radiologist having seen the scans.

In September 2010, the now-former employee, Rachael Michelle Rapraeger, of Macon, Georgia, was indicted on 10 felony counts of computer forgery and 10 misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct. There were 10 sets of charges because, a prosecutor said, 10 of the supposedly negative mammograms were actually positive. Prosecutors apparently struggled to find laws that fit; hence the “computer forgery” and “reckless conduct” charges.

In July 2011, the district attorney requested a delay of the trial, which was to have started that month, “because we are looking to see if anyone else has criminal exposure in this case.” No codefendants have materialized.

In fact, the case seems to have developed hardly at all. Separately, according to The Telegraph newspaper of Macon, four women have sued over the allegedly falsified mammogram results. Three of the suits are still pending:

  • Miriam Mizell said in her lawsuit that the hospital called her back for a rescan, saying she had been randomly selected to receive a free mammogram on new equipment. As a result of the false “all clear” from her original mammogram on February 12, 2009, a malignant tumor in her right breast went undiagnosed for 14 months, her suit said. She and the hospital reached an undisclosed settlement.
  • A second woman was not among the 10 mentioned in the indictment. Her lawsuit says that she received a negative report after an October 22, 2009, mammogram but that in fact she had a tumor in her right breast that continued to grow undiagnosed for six months.
  • A third woman, whose case is among the 10 covered in the indictment, says she received a negative report after a December 3, 2009, mammogram. In fact, her lawsuit says, a malignant tumor existed in her left breast and continued to “rapidly grow and then metastasize undiagnosed for at least the next three months.” She has undergone multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, and has incurred more than $293,000 in medical bills.
  • A fourth woman, also among the 10 mentioned in the indictment, says she received a negative report after a June 1, 2009, mammogram. Her lawsuit says she had a malignant tumor in her left breast that continued to grow undiagnosed for at least 11 months.

Raepraeger is free on $50,000 bail and, according to her attorney, maintains her innocence. The case has taken at least one small step forward. As of November 3, the terms of her bail no longer require electronic monitoring and house arrest.

Related seminar: Breast Imaging and Digital Mammography

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One Response to “GA Mammogram Case Drags On; 4 Suits Filed”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » 2nd Woman Dies In Faked-Mammograms Case on February 27th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    […] is the case that we’ve mentioned before, involving Perry Hospital in Perry, Georgia. A former radiology technician at the hospital has been […]