After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and undergoing a mastectomy, a 51-year-old Harlem woman found out that her growth was benign and the surgery was completely unnecessary. The horrific ordeal, involving two New York City hospitals, has left Eduvigis Rodriguez traumatized, “I didn’t know whether to smile and thank God I didn’t have cancer or cry because I’ve been through so much,” she told The New York Post. Predictably, Rodriguez is suing both hospitals and doctors for medical malpractice.
Rodriguez’s nightmare began after she felt a lump on her breast and went to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. After Mount Sinai Beth Israel performed a biopsy, Dr. Jean-Marc Cohen misinterpreted her results and diagnosed her with ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer. Dr. Cohen then sent Rodriguez to surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Unfortunately, Lenox Hill failed to correct the misdiagnosis despite the hospital’s policy requiring doctors to review all pathology reports before undergoing surgery on a patient diagnosed at another institution. According to the New York Post, this review never took place despite Dr. Magdi Bebawi signing a document that says, “I certify that outside pathology slides have been reviewed by the hospital’s pathology department.” In April 2015, Dr. Bebawi removed Rodriguez’s left breast.
It was not until after the surgery, when Lenox Hill was doing a routine biopsy of the removed growth, that the hospital’s pathologists realized the tumor was benign. Instead of having ductal carcinoma, Rodriguez had a benign tumor called schlerosing adenosis. After receiving the sample of the original tumor sample from Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital, Dr. Bebawi confirmed that Rodriguez never had cancer and her surgery was unnecessary. Rodriguez has sued both hospitals, Lenox Hill and Mount Sinai Beth Israel, as well as both doctors, Dr. Cohen and Dr. Bebawi, for medical malpractice.
When describing the ordeal, Rodriguez states, “I want justice, and I want explanations. I do not want to see this happen to anyone else. I had confidence in the hospitals, but I cannot believe all the mistakes that were made.” Citing ongoing litigation, both hospitals declined to comment. Both doctors have also declined to comment but, according to the New York Post, Dr. Bebawi has stopped performing surgeries at Lenox Hill and is currently on “medical leave.”