Florida – Radiology – Mammogram And Ultrasound Of Breast Mass Interpreted As A Cyst

On 6/30/2011, a 50-year-old female presented to a breast center for a bilateral digital diagnostic mammogram with computer-aided detection and right breast ultrasound (“mammogram and ultrasound”) for a palpable abnormality (“mass”).

On 6/30/2011, a radiologist interpreted the mammogram and ultrasound in her final report as follows: “[T]here has been no interval change in the appearance of the breasts with no evidence for malignancy.  At the 7 o’clock position, 7 cm away from the nipple, correlating to the [mass] is a simple cyst….”

The radiologist recommended “[M]ammography and yearly physical examination per ACS guidelines, supplemented with monthly self-examination,  If clinically indicated, the cyst could be aspirated.”  At no time did the radiologist recommend a biopsy of the mass.

The radiologist rated the mammogram as a BI-RADS Category II, “[B]enign.”  A correct interpretation of the mass would have indicated that it had lobular and angular margins, and increased through transmission.  The mammogram should have been rated BI-RADS category V, “[H]ighly suspicious: [A]ppropriate action should be taken.”  The radiologist should have recommended a biopsy of the mass.

On 1/23/2012, the patient was advised by a subsequent treating physician that she had invasive ductal carcinoma, Stage III.

The Board judged the radiologist’s conduct to be below the minimum standard of competence given her failure to correctly interpret the mammogram and ultrasound and recommend a biopsy of the mass.

The Board ordered that the radiologist pay a fine of $6,500 against her license and that the radiologist pay a reimbursement cost to the case of a minimum of $2,924.06 but not to exceed $4,924.06.  The Board ordered that the radiologist complete ten hours of continuing medical education in identification and diagnosis of malignancies with a focus on interpretation of breast imaging studies.

State: Florida


Date: November 2017


Specialty: Radiology


Symptom: N/A


Diagnosis: Breast Cancer


Medical Error: False negative, Failure to order appropriate diagnostic test


Significant Outcome: N/A


Case Rating: 3


Link to Original Case File: Download PDF



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