Plaintiff is a female in her mid-40s who had a breast biopsy following a suspicious mammogram. The pathologist examined her slides at the same time she was examining breast slides of another woman.
The pathologist correctly interpreted both women’s slides, but dictated the other woman’s results into plaintiff’s chart and vice versa.
Plaintiff was incorrectly reported to have invasive carcinoma when she simply had fibrocystic breasts with a few atypical cells. The atypia did not require surgery and only increased her lifetime risk of cancer by approximately twice baseline.
Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Unnecessary bilateral mastectomies
Case name: Confidential
Arbitrator: Wayne Huckel
Verdict or settlement: Pre-
litigation arbitration award
Date: Sept. 8, 2010
Amount: $1.35 million
Special damages: $45,028 (medical expenses); $4,308
(lost wages); $36,649 (possible future reconstructive surgery)
Highest offer: $1 million
Experts: Kristen Atkins, M.D., associate professor of pathology and director of the Cytopathology Fellowship Program at the University of Virginia
Were liability and/or damages contested? Liability and causation were admitted; amount of damages was contested
Was the opposing party represented by legal counsel? Yes
Has the plaintiff been successful in actually collecting the settlement? Yes
Plaintiff’s attorney: Bruce A. Elmore Jr. of The Elmore Law Firm (Asheville)
Editor’s note: The information in Lawyers Weekly’s verdicts and settlements reports was submitted by the counsel for the prevailing party and represents the attorney’s characterization of the case.i