When a patient visits a doctor’s office or hospital, they place their faith in the specialized expertise of the medical staff. Patients expect their illnesses to be diagnosed quickly and accurately – in some cases, their ability to recover relies on it. So when an illness is diagnosed too late or misdiagnosed entirely, the results can be catastrophic, as any medical malpractice lawyer can attest.

There are two potential outcomes of misdiagnosis that would warrant the attention of a medical malpractice lawyer: in one scenario, a patient might not receive the timely attention they need; in the other, they might receive unnecessary treatment. Both situations are highly dangerous.

Last year, TIME magazine profiled Elisha Cooke-Moore, a woman from Oregon whose case perfectly illustrates the dangers of the second scenario. Doctors told Cooke-Moore that a genetic test showed she had MLH1 and BRMCA1 gene mutations and Lynch syndrome, a hereditary cancer syndrome. The positive results meant she had a 50 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and an 80 per cent change of developing ovarian cancer. Doctors suggested that she undergo a preventative hysterectomy and double mastectomy. She agreed after discussion with her family.

The surgeries were successful, but Cooke-Moore suffered severe side effects, including early menopause and PTSD. She was also unhappy with the results of the double mastectomy, and after several months consulted a separate doctor about a breast reconstruction procedure.

Upon reviewing Cooke-Moore’s medical records, the second doctor found that she had tested negative for the Lynch syndrome and both gene mutations – her operations had been completely unnecessary. She has filed a $1.8-million USD lawsuit against the practice where she received the surgeries.

“I’m permanently damaged,” Cooke-Moore told TIME in 2017. “No amount of money will ever fix what they’ve done to me. Never.”

The circumstances surrounding Cooke-Moore’s false-positive test results remain a mystery, but the impacts on her life could not be clearer. She has suffered horrific physical and psychological injuries and is well within her rights to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit based on the misdiagnosis.

If you, a member of your family, or someone you care about has been injured as a result of the error or negligence of a medical professional, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Our knowledgeable team can help you understand your legal options and provide guidance and advice throughout the recovery process.


Image credit: Russell Watkins/DFID – UK Department for International Development


Greg Neinstein