In February of 2005, Lathenia Petty, mother of six, went to her doctor with concerns about a lump she felt on her breast. In February, 2009, after medical malpractice in boatloads, Lathenia Petty died of breast cancer. She was 30 years old.
Medical Negligence Leads to Tragic Death
Lathenia Petty saw Dr. Heidi Weston, of Penn University Health System, about the lump she felt on her breast. Weston was concerned about the mass as well, and ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound. Lathenia then took her prescription to Pottstown Memorial Hospital. The radiologist report stated that the results of the tests were suspicious, and that a biopsy was necessary to check for cancer.
The Imaging department at Pottstown Memorial Hospital faxed the results to Weston’s office. Except, they didn’t fax the results to Weston’s office. They sent the fax to a wrong number. In fact, Thomas R. Kline, the Petty family’s attorney, identified 105 additional radiology reports for Weston’s patients that Pottstown Memorial also faxed to the wrong number. Tests included an x-ray of a 16 year-old’s knee from May of 2004, and a breast ultrasound from March of 2008.
Weston received no results from Pottstown regarding her patient. And despite a note in Lathenia’s record to follow up on the lump, Weston never once addressed it in seven office visits Lathenia made after the tests were ordered. Even when Lathenia brought it up again, her concerns mounting, Weston advised Lathenia to find someone to perform evaluations and surgery herself. Weston’s defense? She didn’t have enough time to locate a specialist that would accept Lathenia’s insurance. Lathenia was covered by Keystone Mercy Health Plan, this region’s largest Medicaid HMO.
Negligence at Every Turn
Lathenia Petty was surely failed by her health system. Pottstown Memorial had been faxing imagine results to the wrong number for at least a year, yet never once followed up with Weston on any suspicious findings. And why didn’t Weston find it suspicious that results were never coming in for patients sent to Pottstown Memorial? Since 2004, 105 of Weston’s patients had tests done that she never saw results for. Lathenia Petty had a sizeable lump that needed to be removed, yet Weston failed to follow up with the radiologist regarding the results of the tests she prescribed.
Had Lathenia’s cancer been diagnosed in it’s early stages, when she first felt the lump, she might be alive today to continue mothering her six children. Without a proper follow-up system on the part of physician and radiologist, lives will be lost to missed diagnoses.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
As a patient, you must take an active role in your care and follow up on your own test results. The expression “No news is good news” never applies when it comes to your health, and ultimately, your life. While it is the responsibility of your doctor to retrieve these results and alert you of your condition, you must be pro-active in making sure that your doctors are indeed doing what your insurance company pays them to do.
If you or a loved are victims of medical malpractice or negligence, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let the NJ and PA medical malpractice attorneys at the Mininno Law Office work to earn you the full and fair compensation that you need and deserve.