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Mammogram Denied Twice Despite Prescription

February 3, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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A Central Florida woman sought a mammogram at two different medical facilities. Both said no.

She had a doctor’s order. She had insurance coverage. She’d had a breast ultrasound. She had a family history of breast cancer and a personal history of breast lumps. She’d had a benign breast lump removed the previous year, after an ultrasound and a mammogram.

But she was 26. Both facilities, she said, told her she was too young for a mammogram.

Katie Schaber responded by e-mailing WKMG-TV Local 6 news in Orlando. The station contacted Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation of Orlando, which in turn contacted the Women’s Center for Radiology in Orlando.

In January, Schaber got her 3-D mammogram, which did find an anomaly in her left breast. A follow-up MRI at the Women’s Center found no problem. The center advised Schaber to have another follow-up in six months and a mammogram every year.

Julie Miller, MD, a diagnostic radiologist at the Women’s Center, told Local 6 she has seen girls as young as 17 with breast cancer. Dr. Miller added:

If the patient is young, you would start with an ultrasound to minimize radiation. But you certainly wouldn’t stop at that point just because of her age.

Schaber had gone to Sand Lake Imaging of Orlando in December, armed with her doctor’s prescription for an ultrasound and a mammogram. The clinic did the ultrasound but then declined to do the mammogram.

On her blog, Schaber wrote, “A doctor reviewed my ultrasound and said that, since I was so young and since he didn’t think the scan showed anything too serious, he wouldn’t do a mammogram.”

Sand Lake Imaging said federal law prohibited it from discussing the case.

Next, Schaber tried Florida Hospital Celebration Health of Celebration. Again, she said, she was told the hospital would do an ultrasound but not a mammogram.

Jennifer Roberts, media relations manager for the hospital, told Local 6:

We must abide by our accredited appropriateness criteria approved by the American College of Radiology for diagnostic mammography and breast ultrasound. These criteria recommend that women 29 and under receive an ultrasound and/or provide adequate health history, including previous exams, prior to performing a diagnostic mammogram.

Schaber, a reference librarian at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, has detailed the story on a deeply personal (and award-winning) blog called from IF to when. It focuses on her diagnosis of infertility and its effects on her and her husband’s lives.

Regarding the mammogram issue, she told Local 6, “It seems a little odd to me that I have to keep fighting for something that so many women find uncomfortable. But I think that it is important.”

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Related seminar: Breast Imaging and Intervention: A Comprehensive Review (discount and free shipping)

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One Response to “Mammogram Denied Twice Despite Prescription”

  1. charmaine on July 2nd, 2012 at 9:48 am

    all medical information should be freely available to all health care professionals to ensure that our patients get the best possible service
    I would have liked to read the Breats Imaging and Intervention review (above) but do not have the money to pay for the edition
    c