A number of errors within the Sudbury Breast Imaging program result in class motion lawsuits – litigation, mediation, and arbitration
Multiple errors in the Sudbury Breast Imaging program lead to class action lawsuits
February 15, 2021
Glückstein personal injury lawyers
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On December 14, 2020, Glückstein’s attorneys launched a class action lawsuit against Sudbury’s main hospital, Health Sciences North (HSN) and its senior administrators. This class action lawsuit follows the discovery of systemic breast imaging errors performed in the hospital for several years, including missing cancerous lesions that have resulted in near-catastrophic outcomes for patients.
An internal letter from the law firm in 2018 documents “countless missed lesions” and “obvious misinterpretations”. The hospital’s surgeons warned of an “overwhelming decline below the standard of contemporary breast imaging,” which severely affected their ability to treat patients to a reasonable standard.
The leadership of HSN, including Dr. John Fenton, HSN’s chief of staff, and Dr. Evan Roberts, former head of radiology, has been repeatedly informed of the poor quality of breast imaging and the potential for patient harm. You did little to correct the problems. You have placed great obstacles in the way of quality improvement. HSN health professionals raising concerns in the radiology department and elsewhere in the hospital have faced bullying and other punitive measures. The hospital did not try to inform patients or the community of the quality issues.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of patients and their family members by Shannon Hayes, a former HSN patient, who claims her breast cancer was overlooked. It would be another year before her breast cancer was diagnosed after an imaging was done in another hospital. By then, cancer had spread. She is currently battling metastatic cancer.
“The culture of safety and quality at HSN has to change fundamentally,” said Ms. Hayes. “I was outraged to learn that the HSN administration knew about problems for months before my introduction was misunderstood, but did nothing and kept the problems under wraps in the hospital.”
The lawsuit seeks compensation for affected patients and a court order, according to which the hospital must have all affected breast images checked for errors by a specialist. The class includes all patients who had a chest radiology for HSN performed or interpreted from 2008 to 2020.
“I fear Shannon’s story is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Jordan Assaraf, Shannon’s attorney. “It is evident that there were serious systemic quality issues with HSN that management has not addressed. Amazingly, a taxpayer-funded hospital would punish whistleblowers instead of taking immediate action to avoid harm to patients. That tragic loss becomes those patients cause a loss of confidence in their health facility, which is there to care and protect them in these vulnerable times. “
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