Radiologist fined $750 allowed to retain license after missing breast cancer in 24 patients

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Radiologist fined $750 allowed to retain license after missing breast cancer in 24 patients
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A New Hampshire radiologist who missed breast cancer diagnoses in 24 women across the state over a three-year period has been allowed to keep his medical license and pay a $750 fine despite his ruined mistakes people’s life.

In at least one of the cases, Dr. Mark Guilfoyle, who practiced as a radiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and worked to provide radiology services at three small rural hospitals in the state, saw the same woman three times but failed to notice anything abnormal in her mammogram.

The complaints were filed several years ago, with Guilfoyle’s September 2019 settlement with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine only recently coming to light.

Guilfoyles’ sanctions prevent him from reading mammograms only in the state of New Hampshire, although he is still allowed to interpret X-rays and X-ray images

Dr. Mark Guilfoyle, Who Practiced As A Radiologist At Three Rural New Hampshire Hospitals, Missed Breast Cancer Diagnoses In 24 Cases Over A Three-Year Period

Dr. Mark Guilfoyle, who practiced as a radiologist at three rural New Hampshire hospitals, missed breast cancer diagnoses in 24 cases over a three-year period

The Boston Globe conducted its own investigation after a former Guilfoyle patient came forward.

Patricia Eddy was told her mammograms in 2015, 2016 and 2017 given under Guilfoyle’s care were disease-free, but upon further examination she was told breast cancer was present each time – only the radiologist doesn’t. hadn’t spotted him.

Eddy, 66, underwent a double mastectomy after what she claims were doctor’s mistakes. She is furious that he still allowed to practice and was able to keep his license.

“Personally, I don’t think he should read anything. You have this doctor who was hurting innocent patients with his incompetence, and they’re not doing anything about it.

Eddy alerted the New Hampshire Board of Medicine in August 2017 and explained everything she had been through, demanding to know why Guilfoyle was still practicing medicine.

Patricia Eddy Was Told Her Mammograms In 2015, 2016 And 2017 Given Under Guilfoyle's Care Were Disease-Free, But Upon Further Examination She Was Told Breast Cancer Was Present Each Time - Only The Radiologist Hadn't Spotted Him.

Patricia Eddy was told her mammograms in 2015, 2016 and 2017 given under Guilfoyle’s care were disease-free, but upon further examination she was told breast cancer was present each time – only the radiologist hadn’t spotted him.

It took another eight months before she received a response that the doctor had not received any kind of “formal disciplinary action” despite her complaint.

It will be another two years before the board reaches its own deal with Guilfoyle.

One of Guilfoyles’ superiors, Dr. Rebecca Zuurbier, who was director of breast imaging at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, also expressed concern about the doctor’s work.

Cheryl Jensen, 76, Said Guilfoyle

Cheryl Jensen, 76, said Guilfoyle “ruined the rest of my life” by misinterpreting her mammograms. This led to her breast cancer having had time to spread and was finally diagnosed in early 2018, after which she had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

This led to a review of every mammogram and breast ultrasound the radiologist had interpreted, including over 5,500 patient visits.

It was during this time that the two dozen women with missed breast cancers were found.

Affected patients have been notified and given further testing and treatment if necessary.

“There were 24 patients with known missed breast cancers,” Zuurbier said.

The American Cancer Society says about one in eight cancers are missed in mammograms with such failed diagnoses, a cause for malpractice comments against the radiologist.

Often, small growths can be difficult to identify, especially due to the density and complexity of the breast tissue.

“I liken it to looking at a painting of Jackson Pollock, with all the splatters and smudges and dots,” Zuurbier explained. “If someone adds a new point, will you get it back?” I can come back later and find this new point, even if it is sometimes difficult. But there are some basic things you learn that you shouldn’t miss.

But she agrees, Guilfoyle “had a lot of big misses.”

“Dartmouth Health acted immediately and decisively when it was determined that there was a suspected irregularity in one of its mammogram readings,” Dartmouth spokeswoman Audra Burn added.

Dartmouth’s concerns were then escalated to the state medical board which investigated the ‘malpractice allegations’ according to the September 10, 2019 settlement agreement with the radiologist.

Dr Rebecca Zuurbier, Director Of Breast Imaging At Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Admits It Can Be Difficult To Spot The Masses, But Guilfoyle Has Had

Dr Rebecca Zuurbier, director of breast imaging at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, admits it can be difficult to spot the masses, but Guilfoyle has had “a lot of big misses”

A Decision By The New Hampshire State Medical Board Saw Guilfoyle Fined $750 And

A decision by the New Hampshire State Medical Board saw Guilfoyle fined $750 and “reprimanded”, but he was still able to keep his license.

The council determined that Guilfoyle would pay the paltry fine and be “reprimanded”.

“What I wanted from the start, I wanted his license. I was standing up for myself, but I was standing up for all the other women who were going to have a mammogram,’ Eddy told The Globe.

Eddy was one of two dozen patients who fell victim to Guilfoyle’s alleged inability to spot signs of breast cancer in their mammograms or breast ultrasounds.

In 2020, 11 of the women involved settled malpractice claims that alleged Guilfoyle’s negligence resulted in delayed diagnoses of their breast cancer.

The delay had life-threatening repercussions. The group eventually shared the proceeds of a $4.6 million payment, but neither the alleged mistakes nor Guilfoyle’s $750 are mentioned on his doctor’s profile on the New Hampshire Board of Medicine’s website.

In fact, New Hampshire’s medical board is one of the least transparent in the country, and patients have no easy way to look into their doctor’s past, including whether they’ve had malpractice settlements. , hospital disciplinary measures or even criminal convictions.

Dr Mark Guilfoyle Practiced As A Radiologist At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Pictured, Along With Three Other Rural New Hampshire State Hospitals

Dr Mark Guilfoyle practiced as a radiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, pictured, along with three other rural New Hampshire state hospitals

Guilfoyle’s attorney, Jason Gregoire, only referred to the 2019 settlement Guilfoyle reached with the board, noting that it “speaks for itself”, adding that the doctor no haven’t read a mammogram since he left Dartmouth.

Another woman, Cheryl Jensen, 76, said Guilfoyle “ruined the rest of my life” by misinterpreting her mammograms.

Dr. Emily Baker, The Current Chair Of The New Hampshire Medical Board And A Practicing Obstetrician And Gynecologist At Dartmouth Health, Said She Was Not Authorized To Speak On Behalf Of The Agency.

Dr. Emily Baker, the current chair of the New Hampshire Medical Board and a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist at Dartmouth Health, said she was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency.

This led to her breast cancer having had time to spread and was finally diagnosed in early 2018, after which she had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“For me, the main problem is the medical commission. Its lack of action and transparency,” Jensen said.

After hearing about Guilfoyle’s sanctions, she begged the board to reopen the case and revoke her license, but the board responded only to say that it “considers this matter to have been investigated.” thorough”.

“He got a slap on the wrist and I got a slap from that advice,” Jensen bluntly told The Globe.

Both Eddy and Jensen were patients at Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Guilfoyle is still licensed to practice in eight states, including Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Vermont and Washington, but only in Georgia does he list the $4.6 million malpractice payout. of dollars.

Dr. Emily Baker, the current chair of the New Hampshire Medical Board and a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist at Dartmouth Health, said she was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency.

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