Personal Injury Blog

Woman Files Suit After Health Care Provider's Negligent Misreading of Test Results Cause Her to Receive Double Mastectomy and Hysterectomy

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 were normal.

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.