By: Matthew Tievsky
In 2015, 36 year-old Oregon resident Elisha Cooke-Moore visited her OB-GYN
for a regular examination, and underwent precautionary genetic testing,
to see if she was at risk of developing any genetic diseases. In particular,
Ms. Cooke-Moore was tested for mutations of the genes known as BRCA1 and
BRCA2. The results were actually negative for any mutations.
But a nurse practitioner misread the results, and informed Ms. Cooke-Moore
that she tested positive for the MLH1 gene mutation and had Lynch syndrome,
which increases the risks of many types of cancer. As a result, the nurse
practitioner incorrectly told Ms. Cooke-Moore that she was at a high risk
for developing breast cancer or uterine cancer. Based on this bad information,
Ms. Cooke-Moore underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy and hysterectomy
with a gynecologist who also failed to notice that the testing results
Ms. Cooke-Moore discovered the mistakes only last year, when she received
the testing results and read them herself. Devastated, Ms. Cooke-Moore
has filed a lawsuit against the healthcare professionals who allegedly
misread the results. Unfortunately, aside from recovering the cost of
unnecessary surgery, under Oregon law Ms. Cooke-Moore can only obtain
$500,000 at most to compensate her for her pain and suffering, and the
permanent and severe damage that has been done to her body.
Ms. Cooke-Moore’s story teaches a couple important lessons. The first
is that healthcare professionals do make mistakes sometimes, even simple
ones. The second is that legal caps on the money that can be recovered
in medical malpractice cases can be enormously unfair, and prevent juries
from determining what is just compensation on a case-by-case basis.
If you or anyone that you know has been a victim of
medical malpractice, you should
contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., for a free consultation.