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Lawsuit Says Radiologist Missed Breast Cancer

November 24, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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A Montreal woman is suing her radiologist for $235,000 because two mammograms failed to detect the cancer she developed in both of her breasts. The cancer was diagnosed at an advanced stage more than two years after the second mammogram.

Micheline Lalonde, a 66-year-old retired nurse, went to a Montreal radiology clinic for a mammogram in January 2006. A year later, she returned for another test. Both times, the doctor said the test results were normal.

In May 2009, Lalonde noticed a lump in her right breast. It turned out that she had cancer in both breasts, and it had metastasized. She underwent a partial mastectomy and chemotherapy. She has to wear a support for her weakened right arm and has been told her cancer has a good chance of returning.

“I’m so angry,” she told the Toronto Sun. “My life expectancy has been shortened so much by this.”

She thinks her doctor misread her tests and could have detected her cancer much earlier. “I don’t want others to live through what I did,” she said.

On July 1, the Quebec College of Physicians limited her radiologist’s practice. He is no longer allowed to perform mammograms.

Coincidentally, in an unrelated case, the same College of Physicians earlier this month ordered a reexamination of 15,000 scans, mostly mammograms, that had been read by a single radiologist at three Montreal-area clinics. A routine quality-control review turned up problems with some of the image interpretations over the past two years.

Yves Robert, MD, secretary of the College of Physicians, said the radiologist’s referral rate was lower than the standard 15 percent for mammography exams. Dr. Robert told the Montreal Gazette that the radiologist, whose name the college did not reveal, “seemed to miss things that he should have seen.”

All of the scans in question will be reread by other radiologists, a process that is expected to take up to six months. In the meantime, the suspected radiologist is barred from reading any scans. About 85 percent of the questioned scans are mammography scans. The others are CT scans.

Related seminar: Breast Imaging and Digital Mammography

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2 Responses to “Lawsuit Says Radiologist Missed Breast Cancer”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » 2nd Quebec Radiologist Sued For Mammogram on November 29th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    […] lawyer, Jean-Pierre Ménard, also represents Micheline Lalonde. We reported last week that Lalonde was suing her radiologist for […]

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

    […] Lawsuit Says Radiologist Missed Breast Cancer: A Quebec woman said a radiologist failed to notice signs of cancer that showed up in 2006 and 2008 mammograms, plus a 2008 ultrasound, before a different doctor in 2009 found cancer in both breasts that had spread to her lymph nodes. A second Quebec woman sued a different radiologist for also missing breast cancer in a mammogram. Lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard, who represented both women, said the province has a problem with mammography “quality control.” […]