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Failure to Order Breast Biopsy or Ultrasound

Lawyers Helping Patients in Syracuse

Breast cancer may be suspected if a mammogram shows an abnormality or a lump is felt on a woman’s breast. While these abnormalities may not turn out to be cancer, a doctor should conduct follow-up testing such as a biopsy. A doctor’s failure to order a breast biopsy or ultrasound can result in a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer or a misdiagnosis. This, in turn, can result in no medical care or improper medical care. The patient’s breast cancer may progress or prove fatal. If you are harmed or a loved one dies as a result of a failure to order a breast biopsy or ultrasound, you may be able to sue for damages. You should consult the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about whether you have a viable claim.

Failure to Order a Breast Biopsy or Ultrasound

Breast biopsies and ultrasounds are important parts of determining whether a breast abnormality is breast cancer. With a needle biopsy, tissues are removed from the breast using a needle. In a surgical biopsy, tissue samples may be removed with a surgical incision. If a doctor does not conduct a biopsy or mammogram, he may fail to diagnose breast cancer. Breast cancer, like other cancers, progresses in stages. If it’s caught early, the prognosis is usually better than if it progresses to stage 4.


You may be able to hold a health care provider liable for failure to order a breast biopsy or ultrasound, but you’ll need to show this failure constituted medical malpractice. Medical malpractice lawsuits require a plaintiff to prove: (1) the defendant owed a professional standard of care, (2) the failure to meet the professional standard of care, (3) the failure caused injuries (4) the injuries resulted in damages.

The professional standard of care is the accepted medical practices of other reasonably competent health care providers in the same specialty and geographical region as the defendant when faced with similar circumstances. In other words, would other doctors have ordered a biopsy or ultrasound when faced with a lump in the breast or abnormal mammogram result. The professional standard of care may vary for general practitioners and oncologists. In most cases, a law firm will retain an expert to testify as to what the professional standard of care was, how the failure to order a breast biopsy or ultrasound did not meet the standard, and that this failure caused you harm.

A doctor may fail to order a breast biopsy or ultrasound if she comes to a diagnosis too quickly and with insufficient testing. The doctor may, for instance, diagnose a breast cyst, fibroadenoma, or blocked milk duct. In some cases, women are treated for noninvasive cancer, but years later develop cancer again because of a failure to diagnose and properly treat the cancer for its invasiveness the first time around.

When cancer is found by a breast biopsy, further testing will occur. The size of a lesion or tumor at the point of diagnosis and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes will determine your prognosis. A delay in ordering a biopsy or ultrasound can increase the risks that a tumor will grow and metastasis will occur.

Sometimes defendants argue that there is no causation in these types of cases. Your doctor might defend against litigation by claiming that the harm you suffered due to breast cancer was a harm you would have suffered even if a breast biopsy or ultrasound had been conducted. However, many people are able to recover from breast cancer if the cancer is caught early enough. On the other hand, delayed diagnosis can result in premature death, loss of a breast or lymph nodes, scarring, disfigurement, serious physical pain, more expensive treatment, lost wages, inoperable cancer, increased recovery time, and treatment that’s more invasive and painful.

Wrongful Death

No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one’s preventable death due to breast cancer. It is tremendously painful to know an early death could have been avoided had a breast biopsy or ultrasound been ordered. The party responsible for the untimely death of a woman with breast cancer should bear the financial burdens. You may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a loved one’s health care provider; if liability can be established, you can recover pecuniary losses.

Consult an Attorney in Syracuse

If you were injured or a loved one died due to a doctor’s failure to order a breast biopsy or ultrasound in Syracuse, it may be possible to recover damages. The lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent breast cancer patients and their families in Rochester, Syracuse, and other cities in Upstate New York, including in Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Auburn, Binghamton, Canandaigua, Oswego, Wampsville, Ithaca, Watertown, Utica, Elmira, Herkimer, Utica, and Lowville. Contact our attorneys at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

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