Common Medical Errors
The failure to diagnose Breast Cancer is typically because imaging or biopsy was not performed or because diagnostic tests were interpreted improperly. A common cause of physician delay is reassuring a woman that a lump is benign (not cancerous) based on the physical examination alone without obtaining a Mammogram and/or ultrasound and without performing a biopsy. Another error is relying on a recent normal Mammogram to decide not to perform a biopsy or additional imaging such as ultrasound for a lump. Imaging tests may be misinterpreted as benign despite presence of an abnormality or a change from prior examination. Needle or surgical biopsies may miss the area of concern producing a false negative result.
In summary, common medical errors include:
- Failure to order imaging tests (mammography and/or ultrasound) to evaluate a lump
- Failure to perform a biopsy procedure
- Misinterpreted mammography, ultrasound or MRI results
- False negative biopsy results
- Failure to follow up with patient