Patients often know their own bodies better than any healthcare expert. When a patient knows something is wrong and goes to the doctor for an evaluation, they expect the doctor to take their claim seriously. It can be frustrating when a doctor fails to properly evaluate the patient and tells them to just ignore the problem. However, it can be medical malpractice if the doctor fails to properly evaluate a patient who later develops breast cancer.
Complaints of Painful Lump Were Ignored
The American Cancer Society advises patients to be aware of changes in their breast to help detect any possible breast cancer early on. Finding breast cancer early usually increases the options for treatment and recovery. According to Cancer.org, “a lump or mass in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Lumps are often hard and painless, although some are painful.”
Michelle Gomer, a 41-year-old mother, was doing the right thing when she went to the doctor after noticing a painful lump in her breast. Gomer visited her primary care doctor at Doctor Today TLC in 2018 for help. According to a medical malpractice lawsuit, the doctor, Enrique Ortiz-Guzman, and nurse, Cynthia Diaz-Pineiro failed to properly evaluate the lump.
According to Gomer, she went back multiple times with the same complaint. Instead of examining the lump or ordering diagnostic tests, Gomer was allegedly told that it was just pain relating to her menstrual cycle and to ignore the pain.
Eventually, Gomer moved to a different state and when she went to see her new doctor for the same complaint, she got terrifying news. After a mammogram and ultrasound, Gomer was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The cancer had gone on long enough that it had spread to her lungs. Gomer filed a lawsuit against her former doctor and nurse for medical negligence.
Signs of Breast Cancer
One of the early signs of possible breast cancer is to look for any changes in the sensations, look, or feel of the breast and/or nipple of one or both breasts. Changes may present as:
- Swelling, redness, or warmth in a particular area
- Change in the shape and/or size of the breast
- Presence of a lump or hard knot on the breast or under the armpit
- Persistent pain in one area of the breast
- Nipple discharge that is clear or bloody, comes from only one breast or occurs on its own
These signs do not necessarily mean the individual has breast cancer but these kinds of changes should be evaluated by your doctor. If your doctor ignores your complaints or fails to properly evaluate your health, you may want to get a second opinion.
Diagnosing breast cancer may begin with imaging and diagnostic tests. One of the primary tools is a mammography, which uses x-rays to create images of breast tissues. The images may help show problem areas or potentially cancerous growths. Other tests include:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Blood tests