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Medical Providers Allegedly Covered Up Misdiagnosis of Kentucky Woman’s Cancer

delayed diagnosis of breast cancer

A Kentucky woman who suffered from a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer alleges that her medical providers subsequently attempted to cover up their errors.

Kentucky Woman’s Breast Cancer Went Undiagnosed for Nearly a Year

Kim Johnson, a 53-year-old woman from northeast Kentucky, underwent a mammogram performed by the radiology department at Fleming County Hospital in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, after she had discovered a tender lump in her right breast. Johnson received a letter from the hospital advising her that her mammogram showed “no evidence of cancer.” However, Johnson was in fact suffering from breast cancer, and would only be correctly diagnosed months later after she sought a second opinion when the pain in her breast continued to worsen. 

Johnson was eventually diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her bones and lymph nodes and given a prognosis of six months to a year. Medical experts who reviewed Johnson’s records determined that she should have undergone a biopsy following her initial mammogram at Fleming County Hospital, which showed signs of malignant cancer.

Misdiagnosis Victim Alleges Providers Actively Attempted to Cover Up Their Negligence

Johnson, wanting to know why her cancer had not been correctly diagnosed the first time, filed suit against her providers. Although Johnson initially settled for $1.25 million, after continued protracted litigation, Johnson’s lawyers were able to finally piece together what had happened and sought to undo the settlement.

Johnson’s lawyers alleged that, due to a data entry error, Johnson was mistakenly sent a letter advising her that her mammogram showed no evidence of cancer, when in fact she should have been sent a letter requesting her to seek further testing. Johnson’s lawyers retained computer forensics experts who found evidence that, after Johnson filed her malpractice suit, hospital employees went into Johnson’s patient records and deleted evidence of the letter claiming that Johnson was cancer-free. Two letters directing Johnson to seek further testing were then allegedly inserted into her file. The defendants in the case attempted to use the letters as evidence that Johnson herself was responsible for the delay in her treatment. 

After five years of continued treatment, Johnson continues to battle her cancer. Johnson’s efforts to undo her settlement are currently pending before the Kentucky Supreme Court, after lower courts ruled that Kentucky law did not provide a cause of action for falsified medical records.

What to Do If You’ve Been the Victim of a Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Legal and healthcare industry experts say manipulation of patient records is more common than people think, with the practice becoming more common following the advent of electronic recordkeeping. Attorneys note that medical malpractice cases are more frequently involving review of the “audit trail” of a patient’s records by computer forensics experts, which can show who accessed a patient’s records and what changes were made to the record. Forensics experts who work on medical malpractice cases claim that the vast majority of cases involve some change to a patient’s record after an error in care is identified or the patient threatens or brings a legal claim, with a percentage of those cases involving signs of a “complete cover-up.”

When you’ve suffered a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you need experienced legal representation with the resources to fully investigate every aspect of your case, including reviewing the computer data from your electronic patient records for evidence that you may have also been the victim of efforts to cover up errors in your care.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Near You to Discuss Your Delayed Diagnosis Case in New Jersey

Were you or a loved one injured as a result of medical malpractice in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive medical malpractice attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. represent clients injured in Lakewood, Toms River, Brick, Jackson and throughout Ocean County, Middlesex County and Monmouth County, New Jersey. Call (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701 as well as offices in Hazlet and Brick.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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