On June 23, 2021, an appellate Court dismissed a Westchester County medical malpractice action against a radiologist, finding he performed exactly what an internist/PCP ordered - a routine or screening mammogram. The complicating factor in this case was that when the patient showed up at the radiology facility, she reported pain and a lump in her left breast which was documented on a radiology worksheet. Those symptoms had not been reported to the internist/PCP who prescribed a routine mammogram in response to a telephone request from the patient. The routine mammogram was read as normal and one year later the patient was diagnosed with breast cancer and died as a result three years after diagnosis.
The plaintiff's Estate argued that the radiologist should have performed a diagnostic mammogram given the reported symptoms but the radiologist contended that he never met, spoke with or examined the patient and simply implemented the internist's prescribed mammogram. The Court was not persuaded that the radiologist should have at least recommended clinical follow-up to the patient. It explained that the reported symptoms "did not impose a heightened duty of care" on the radiologist whose "only role was to interpret the mammography images and report his findings to the prescribing physician." Mann v Okere, 2021 WL 2557990