A simple last-name mix-up has caused a woman’s test results to be lost for over a year, resulting in a delayed cancer diagnosis in Virginia Beach.

A few days after 59-year-old Peggy Kidwell attended her regular physical and mammogram, she got a letter saying that her pap screening results were normal. She never received any follow-up about her mammogram, so she assumed it was normal as well.

Unfortunately, the mammogram results contained vital information: Kidwell had breast cancer.

The results went unreported because they were sent to the wrong doctor: there was an orthopedic surgeon at the same medical center with the same last name as Kidwell's gynecologist. The folder containing Kidwell’s mammogram results sat on his desk for a year—until it was tracked down at Kidwell’s next yearly appointment.

The doctor administering her physical informed Kidwell of the mistake, and told her she needed to undergo breast cancer treatment immediately. The delay had given the cancer time to spread to her chest wall, and Kidwell would need a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

When the cancer reappeared the next year, Kidwell underwent a mastectomy.

While there is no way to tell if the delay made a difference in her case, the sheer magnitude of the error was cause for compensation: Kidwell sued and won her medical malpractice lawsuit.

If someone you love has been the victim of a delayed diagnosis in DC, get advice from an experienced Fairfax medical malpractice lawyer. Call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation.
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