U.S. Faces $5 Million Lawsuit Over Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis, Wrongful Death

A lawsuit has been filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in a Louisiana federal court. The lawsuit claims that the patient, Lucille Bruno, died because a federally funded clinic ignored signs of breast cancer that led to her death. The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages.

The surviving children and husband of Lucille Bruno have alleged that Southwest Primary Healthcare and its nurse practitioner who examined Bruno chose not to properly react to what is claimed as signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Southwest Primary Healthcare is a federally funded clinic, which means the U.S. government is a defendant in this case along with the nurse practitioner, Debbie Vidrine.

In September 2013, Bruno first went to an emergency room in Louisiana. She was complaining of breast pain and told the doctors of a lump in her breast. The hospital, which is not a party to this lawsuit, sent her on her way with instructions to follow up with another primary care physician should her symptoms continue.

After the hospital visit, she went to Southwest Primary Healthcare at the end of October 2013. There she was seen by the nurse practitioner, Debbie Vidrine. It was alleged in the lawsuit that Vidrine wrote on her treatment plan, “order postponed for a breast ultrasound” and directed Bruno to return for a follow-up visit in 6 months.

Bruno did return to the hospital in late November 2013. The doctor there diagnosed her with a breast lump or cyst. After several other visits with medical professionals, she visited yet another doctor in mid-July 2014. The doctor saw that her breast lump may have progressed and ordered an ultrasound and mammogram. Because the results showed that breast cancer was evident, at the end of September 2014, Bruno had a lumpectomy, which removed the affected portion of her breast. Despite that care and surgery, she died of cancer on Dec. 7, 2016.

Because the federal government is a funding source for Southwest Primary Healthcare and the nurse practitioner, Vidrine, were claimed to be responsible, a three-count medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Survival and wrongful death counts were included. The lawsuit generally claims that the clinic and these medical providers chose not to diagnose Bruno’s breast cancer, order diagnostic tests or properly coordinate follow-up treatment.

The clinic is also claimed to have chosen not to have properly supervised its nurse practitioner, Vidrine.

The attorney representing the Bruno family is Kara Hadican Samuels. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court. Discovery in the case is ongoing.

Bruno, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. 6:17-cv-00511-RFD-PJH, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling misdiagnosis of cancer cases, misdiagnosis of breast cancer cases, medical negligence cases and birth injury cases for individuals and families who have been injured, harmed or died by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding municipalities including, Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park, Harvey, Hazel Crest, East Hazel Crest, Dolton, Dolton, Crete, Steger, Oak Park, Orland Hills, Glencoe, Waukegan, Joliet, Aurora, St. Charles, Midlothian, Schiller Park, Skokie, Palos Heights, Riverside, Winnetka, Willow Springs, Chicago (Lakeview, Albany Park, Andersonville, Wrigleyville, Hyde Park, Garfield Park, Gold Coast, Greek Town, Edgebrook, East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, Chinatown, Portage Park, Prairie District, Printer’s Row, Sauganash, Roseland, Roscoe Village), Palatine and Western Springs, Ill.

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