Misinformation is awful for patients, because it means they don’t know the actual state of their health. They make decisions based on this information, which could be inaccurate. For a woman in Oregon, that meant that she thought she had a diagnosis that she, in reality, did not.
The Aug. 10 report describes a 36-year-old woman who was told that she carried genes that could later lead to breast cancer. They urged her to go through a double mastectomy, and she also had a hysterectomy to stem the risk of developing cancer at all. The surprise came after the surgeries were over and her wounds were healing. She learned that she didn’t have the genes they had told her she had.
The woman, because of this information, made the decision to have life-altering surgeries that she didn’t need at all. She put herself at risk and through pain as a direct result of a misdiagnosis. Now, she will need reconstructive surgery to repair breast tissue and won’t be able to have children.
Even worse is the fact that the surgeon didn’t complete her double mastectomy well and misplaced the implants, so she had to have over 10 more surgeries to correct the mistakes. She said even a year after that, she was in pain daily.
She sued, and she was awarded over $600,000. The most she can collect in damages is $691,200, because the hospital relies on public funding. She took the misdiagnosis settlement despite the fact that a trial would have likely awarded more. That settlement can help her cover the ongoing costs of medical care and offset some of the suffering she has experienced.