On June 19th, 2010, Maui Circuit Judge Joel August ruled that the case of a woman’s mistaken diagnosis of breast cancer that led to her needless mastectomy will proceed to trial against the physician who allegedly concealed the mistake from his patient for a period of ten years.
In 1995, 40â€‘yearâ€‘old Maui resident, Areeat Teanglum was diagnosed on biopsy with a very aggressive form of breast cancer called bilateral medullary breast cancer. As a result of that diagnosis, she was immediately referred for surgery in Maui where she underwent a radical double mastectomy. Shortly after the surgical procedure, tissue samples were forwarded MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas where additional tests were run. The results revealed that the original diagnosis had been incorrect and Mrs. Teanglum did not have breast cancer at all but rather a very treatable form of lymphoma. She never was in need of the mastectomy.
Mrs. Teanglum oncologist Dr. Curtis Andrew who was then a resident of Maui learned of the mistake and opted not to inform Mrs. Teanglum that there had been an error in the diagnosis and that her mastectomy was unnecessary. Andrew continued treating the patient for a number of years until he moved to the mainland without ever informing her of the mistaken diagnosis. Ten years later, in 2005 Mrs. Teanglum learned for the first time from a new oncologist that she never had breast cancer at all and for ten years her family had lived with threat of recurrence of this aggressive form of cancer.
Attorneys for Andrew filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to have the case dismissed which was denied this morning by the Judge August. Other parties involved in the case have either been resolved or dismissed from the case. The trial will proceed alone against Dr. Andrew. The trial is scheduled to begin July 19 in Maui Circuit Court.
Mrs. Teanglum and her family are represented by Mark S. Davis and Loretta Sheehan of Davis Levin Livingston in Honolulu. [email protected]
June 19, 2010 Honolulu Star Bulletin