Woman: Falsely Assured While Cancer Metastasized
9-16-2013 18:32:00

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – A woman “faces a probability of premature death” because of a delayed breast cancer diagnosis, she claims in a complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County, Va.
     34-year-old Nancy Betz went to a Kaiser gynecologist with concerns of a thickening of her breast tissue, the complaint says. A Kaiser radiologist interpreted a subsequent mammogram as "negative for malignancy," and an ultrasound as showing "no evidence of a breast mass," according to the complaint.
     The Kaiser gynecologist told Betz the test results were "normal," and did not recommend further monitoring, according to the complaint. As a result, Betz  had a false sense of reassurance that she did not have cancer, the complaint says.
     “After having first recognized the area of left breast thickness in early 2009, this area of thick tissue remained present thereafter; however, plaintiff believed that the appropriate work-up had been undertaken to exclude malignancy and, therefore, did not complain further about it,” according to the complaint.
     However, three years later, Betz, “noticed that the area of left breast thickness she had first discovered in early 2009 was enlarging and becoming painful. Correspondingly, plaintiff further noticed that she had developed enlargement of left axillary lymph nodes,” the complaint continues. A visit to a second gynecologist, followed by a second round of diagnostic imaging and a biopsy “yielded a diagnosis of metastatic breast carcinoma, with liver involvement,” the complaint says.
     Betz blames Dr. Gary Gordon, the radiologist, and Dr. Joilyn Martin, the first gynecologist, for failure to advise her that the initial mammogram and ultrasound results, “while reassuring, did not definitively exclude the possibility of breast cancer” and causing a delay in her diagnosis, “adversely affecting treatment options, worsening her prognosis, and diminishing her life expectancy," according to the complaint.
     “Ms. Betz will incur increased medical expense in treating metastatic cancer, will suffer a diminution and loss in her earning capacity, and faces a probability of premature death, despite aggressive therapies now being undertaken and anticipated to be undertaken in the future,” the complaint states.
     Plaintiff seeks $2.1 million plus costs and interest from Kaiser Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, Dr. Gordon and Dr. Martin. She is represented by Karl J. Protil, Jr. of Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, in Potomac, Md.