Incorrect gene finding leads to a case of medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2018 | Doctor Errors |

While being diagnosed with cancer is not necessarily the death sentence that it was in years past, it can still be terrifying. Recent advances have allowed doctors to check a person’s DNA for cancer-carrying genes. This is used predominantly on women to ascertain the likelihood that a woman may contract breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. An error in identifying such genes led to a medical malpractice suit in Oregon.

A woman was told she carried the cancer-causing gene and that she needed a double mastectomy. She also had a complete hysterectomy. After the surgeries were completed, it was determined that in fact she carried none of the genes that the doctors had told her she carried.

The woman learned of the mistake when reviewing her medical files, which revealed she did not have either the MLH1 or BRCA1 genes that are associated with multiple cancers in women, including breast uterine and ovarian cancers. The woman brought a suit against the gynecologist, the surgeon and the facility where the procedures were performed. The claim was settled out of court.

Having one’s DNA checked for the presence of a cancer gene, particularly the BRCA1 gene, has become more popular since actress Angelina Jolie was diagnosed as carrying the gene and underwent a double mastectomy as a preventive measure. A person in Oregon who has questions about medical procedures he or she may have undergone may want to seek the counsel of an experienced professional, such as a medical malpractice attorney. An experienced lawyer can review the circumstances of the situation and may be able to advise his or her client on what legal paths are available.