In the months and/or years leading up to January 2013, an oncologist’s care for a patient included monitoring her for recurrence of lung cancer.
Sometime in 2012, the oncologist ordered diagnostic imaging services for the patient that were to be performed around January 2013.
On 1/8/2013, the patient received diagnostic imaging services. The ensuing diagnostic imaging report noted abnormal densities/masses in the patient’s lungs that were indicative of malignant neoplasm.
On 1/21/2013, the patient presented to the oncologist for an appointment. During the appointment, the oncologist failed to mention any of the January 2013 diagnostic imaging report findings to the patient.
On 1/22/2013, the oncologist electronically signed, and/or otherwise approved, a medical progress note for the patient that acknowledged the diagnostic imaging performed on 1/8/2013. The progress note referenced in the preceding paragraph stated that the patient exhibited no evidence of recurrent disease.
In May 2013, the patient telephoned the oncologist’s office and advised that one of her other physicians was concerned about areas of growth in her lung(s) shown on the patient’s January 2013 diagnostic images.
Personnel affiliated with the oncologist’s office indicated that the oncologist would be advised of the patient’s call.
In the time between the oncologist’s May 2013 telephone call and 1/10/2014, the oncologist did not order or perform any additional diagnostic services for the patient. He did not indicate/communicate concern that the patient’s cancer was returning.
On 1/10/2014, the patient returned to the imaging center for diagnostic imaging services. The ensuing diagnostic imaging report noted an enlarging mass in the patient’s lungs that was concerning for recurrent cancer.
On 1/14/2014, the patient presented to the oncologist for an appointment. During the appointment, the oncologist was unable to load an imaging disc provided by the imaging center. The oncologist instructed the patient that she could follow up with a local oncologist.
Between 1/10/2014 and May 2014, the oncologist did not obtain and/or review the January 2014 diagnostic imaging report for the patient.
Between 1/10/2014 and May 2014, the oncologist did not order or perform any additional diagnostic services for the patient, nor did he indicate/communicate concern that the patient’s cancer was returning.
In May 2014, the patient presented to and was diagnosed with lung cancer by a different physician.
The Medical Board of Florida judged the oncologists conduct to be below the minimal standard of competence given that he failed to accurately interpret or characterize all known and available diagnostic imaging reports of the patient’s lungs. He failed to timely obtain, review, and communicate with the patient regarding any ordered but unreviewed diagnostic imaging reports of the patient’s lungs.
The Medical Board of Florida ordered that the oncologist pay an administrative fine of $7,000 to the Board. He also was ordered to complete five hours of continuing medical education in “risk management” and complete five hours of continuing medical education in the area of diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. The Medical Board of Florida also placed the oncologist’s license on probation for a period of one year.
Date: February 2017
Diagnosis: Lung Cancer
Significant Outcome: N/A
Case Rating: 3
Link to Original Case File: Download PDF
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