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Victims of medical negligence: Technician's sentence too lenient

The lives of 10 women were drastically changed because of one woman's poor work ethic and bad decisions. The women were part of a group of patients at a Georgia hospital who were told their recent mammogram results were clear of breast cancer. However, unbeknownst to the women, their tests had not even been inspected by a radiologist. The reports were cleared by a technologist who logged in to the reports, falsified her credentials and signed off on mammogram films. 

Of the 1,300 patients who were "cleared" by the technician, 10 of them eventually learned that they did indeed have breast cancer. The technician's reckless behavior delayed diagnoses for the 10 women, which required many of them to undergo aggressive cancer treatments that could have been avoided with earlier detection. While the technician was convicted of criminal charges, many of her victims feel as if her punishment was far too lenient for her actions. It is possible that they will pursue civil claims against the woman for her medical negligence.

The technician admitted that she was struggling with personal issues and frustrated by the amount of paperwork she was supposed to do at her job when she did what she did. Instead of preparing the films and files to give to a radiologist to review, the woman simply logged into the hospital system as a doctor and cleared all the patients who had files stacking up. 

According to reports, the woman is now prohibited from working in the medical industry for 10 years and will spend just six months in a detention facility. For many of her victims, this is hardly an appropriate sentence for the damage caused by this woman.

In similar cases of medical negligence, patients choose to file a civil claim against the appropriate party in order to enhance any criminal penalties that may have been handed down. A malpractice lawsuit can hold a physician or facility accountable for the physical, emotional and financial damages that have been suffered as a result of substandard care practices. While money cannot truly compensate victims of a medical misdiagnosis of cancer, it can help people cover the costs of damage stemming from the negligent actions.

Source: The Huffington Post, "This Technician's Falsified Mammogram Reports Misled Women With Breast Cancer," Kate Brumback, April 27, 2014

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