Medical professionals misread a woman’s genetic test results, causing her to undergo three unnecessary — and irreversible — operations, she claims in a $1.8 million lawsuit.
Elisha Cooke-Moore, 36, said she underwent a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy after her Oregon-based gynecologist, William Fitts, said she had a 50% chance of getting breast cancer and an 80% chance of uterine cancer. Her suit claims both Fitts and nurse practitioner Lori Johns misread the blood test results.
Johns recommended the mastectomy, according to the lawsuit.
“Unfortunately, the damage is too significant to allow her to get implants so she will have to (live) her life with only scarred tissue where her breasts were as well as the early onset menopause caused by the hysterectomy,” Chris Cauble, Cooke-Moore’s lawyer, said. “None of this would have happened had her doctors taken proper care.”
Fitts told Cooke-Moore that she had Lynch syndrome and the MLH1 gene mutation, which indicate an increased risk of uterine, ovarian and colorectal cancers, according to the suit. But after she called the genetic testing company directly, she discovered the test results did not indicate Fitt’s findings at all, according to the lawsuit.
At that point it was too late.
“We are dumbfounded as to how they could make such a mistake,” Cauble said.
The defendants operated under the mistaken belief that Cooke-Moore had Lynch Syndrome and that Lynch Syndrome would make her more likely to have breast cancer, according to the lawsuit. Additional testing found Cooke-Moore did not have the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 mutation, which could indicate a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Cauble said he doesn’t know if there have been other malpractice suits filed against Fitts, Johns and Curry Medical Practice and Curry Medical Center, which are also listed in the lawsuit as defendants.
Fitts’ lawyer said she could not comment on pending litigation. Curry Health Network said it also could not comment on pending litigation and maintains patient confidentiality at all times.
The lawsuit also claims that surgeon Jessica Carlson should have reviewed the test results and noticed the other medical professionals’ alleged error. Cooke-Moore claimed Carlson also incorrectly performed the surgery and implant placements. Because of Carlson’s alleged mistake, Cooke-Moore had more than 10 corrective surgeries over the past few months and is still in pain, the Oregonian reported.
Cauble said Cooke-Moore’s repeated reconstructive surgeries have given her post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Almost every week, every seven to 10 days, I was in there for surgeries,” Cooke-Moore told the Oregonian. “It’s terrible, I can’t even find the words to tell you. As a woman, they took what God gave me. I don’t even feel like I am one at times.”
Carlson’s attorney did not respond to an email from the Daily News.
After the reconstructive surgeries, the mother of five went to see an out-of-town doctor. The doctor told her the initial test results were negative. This prompted Cooke-Moore to reach out to the genetic testing company directly, her lawyer said. The company confirmed the test was negative.
Cauble said damages to Cooke-Moore’s body and mental health was worth more than the $1.8 million they are seeking.
“Oregon tort reform laws have strictly limited the amount of damages we can collect,” he said. “Without these laws limiting damages, the claim would be far higher.”
Woman claims she got unneeded mastectomy and hysterectomy based on doctors’ shoddy diagnosis – New York Daily News