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Florida Medical Malpractice Results In A $21.6 Million Award For Failure To Diagnose Breast Cancer

Marlande Lazard, a former emergency nurse, is speaking out to remind women of the significance of obtaining a second, and if necessary, a third opinion, when you suspect the presence of breast cancer. She emphasized that even good doctors can make errors under certain circumstances. When Lazard detected a lump in her breast, she sought medical attention. For nearly one year, her cancer went undetected despite having both an ultrasound and mammogram. Lazard was breast feeding her son during the period when the lump was found which added some confusion, as her doctor mistook the condition as being mastitis, which is an infection located in the breast. Ultimately, a biopsy revealed the presence of cancer cells. Unfortunately, the form of cancer she exhibited is quite aggressive, spreading rapidly, but has similar symptoms to that of a mildly harmful type of infection.

Lazard was born in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. A coup erupted which removed the President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from command, creating chaos and forcing her family into exile. At 21, she moved to Southern Florida and pursued a career in nursing. During her work, she frequently showed women how to properly self-diagnose for the presence of breast cancer; meanwhile, cancerous cells were accumulating in her body. Eight various medical professionals played a role in attempting to diagnose Lazard’s cancer before it was diagnosed. She has since been awarded $21.6 million in a medical malpractice verdict in a Miami-Dade Court. The Florida court allocated fault as 85% to Signet Diagnosis & Imaging and 15% to Dr. Domesek, while other parties settled privately outside of court. The delayed diagnosis has devastated her, as the mother of two children continues radiation therapy that is weakening her skin, tissue, and ribs.

Apparently there was an error in communicating between Dr. James Domesek and an ultrasound technician at Signet Diagnosis & Imaging Services. They were not viewing the first image displaying the lump, failed to point a transducer over the region where it was found, and did not compare with older images (before/after comparison). After Dr. Domesek at the imaging center classified the lump as not being cancerous, Lazard’s primary care physician tried antibiotics, checked for autoimmunity conditions, both of which were fruitless. When finally it was determined that she had severe breast cancer, she had a bilateral mastectomy which removed both breasts; however, the progress has been modest at best. According to the attorney for Dr. Domesek, they will pursue an appeal.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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