Patient Says Hospital Radiology Department Missed Her Cancer, Then Covered It Up
A Kentucky woman is suing a hospital where she alleges employees failed to warn her of an abnormal mammogram that has now led to terminal breast cancer. Not only that, there’s evidence to suggest that workers went to great lengths to cover up the medical error, NBC News reports.
Kim Johnson received a letter from the radiology department at Fleming County Hospital (now LifePoint Hospital) declaring her cancer-free after a 2015 mammogram. But after a detailed investigation by her medical malpractice lawyers and a digital forensics expert, it appears that hospital workers altered her medical records soon after she filed a lawsuit in 2016.
The result: Today, Johnson has Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to her lymph nodes, bones, and surrounding the jugular vein in her neck. The mother of eight worries it’s only a matter of time before the cancer reaches her brain.
Digital forensics experts reviewed Johnson’s medical records and found that fake letters had been generated and inserted into the electronic medical chart which showed falsified reports that her mammogram was abnormal and that she had also been advised to see a doctor for follow-up testing. Although the hospital acknowledged discrepancies in her records, it also says that its electronic data system was prone to malfunctions and is no longer used.
Disturbingly, Johnson’s problem appears hardly to be an isolated one. The forensic expert in her case says that he has reviewed 500 medical malpractice cases over the last seven years and found changes in 85 percent of patient records. In 25 percent of the cases, he described “a complete coverup” of medical data.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Bertram Law Group are not involved in Johnson’s case in any way. However, the story underscores a growing concern in medical malpractice claims involving electronic data. Where handwriting experts could once pinpoint changes to written records, diving deep into electronic medical records is a costly and complicated undertaking. Not only that, hospitals fight hard to prevent the forensic results from being introduced in court. We applaud Johnson for not giving up the fight.
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With more than 30 years of experience, the attorneys at Bertram Law Group take a unique approach to medical malpractice cases in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. As former defense attorneys for health care providers, our medical malpractice lawyers have an insider’s perspective on how medical providers treat patients and defend against medical malpractice claims. We use these invaluable insights to your benefit, crafting aggressive litigation strategies aimed at recovering maximum compensation.
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