Woman Had Unnecessary Double Mastectomy After Doctors Misread Her Test Results

scars from surgery breast
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After being told by her doctor that a genetic test revealed she had cancer-causing genes, a 36-year-old woman in southern Oregon made the difficult decision to undergo a double masectomy and hysterectomy. The test results said she had a 50 percent chance of getting breast cancer and an 80 percent of getting uterine cancer, and it seemed like the right thing to do to try and beat the odds.

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A few months following the surgeries, which took place in 2016, she was reading through her test results and noticed that her medical team was wrong -- the results were actually negative. 
 
 
Now she's suing the Curry County Health District and her medical team for $1.8 million, claiming that they "continued to negligently rely upon the misinterpreted genetic testing results."
 
"I am damaged for the rest of my life," Elisha Cooke-Moore told the Washington Post.
 
In 2015, Cooke-Moore had gone into her doctor's office for her annual exam, and was told to receive genetic testing after she said she has a family history of cancer. Her nurse practitioner misinterpreted her results, telling her that she had the MLH1 gene mutation and Lynch syndrome, which increases someone's risk for cancer.
 
 
She was referred to two in-network doctors, William Fitts and Jessica Carlson, to perform a total hysterectomy, which requires hormone therapy, and a prophylactic bilateral nipple-sparing mastectomy with implants. She later needed more than 10 corrective surgeries with Dr. Fitts because of complications with her replacement implants. 
 
Cooke-Moore's children were also contacted by her doctors, being urged to get tested for the genetic mutation.
 
"Sometimes I don't believe this is real," she told Oregon Live. "How could this happen to me?"
 
According to Cooke-Moore, Fitts and Carlson did not independently confirm her test results. If she could go back in time, she said she would have gotten a second opinion before agreeing to any surgeries, which is something that more and more doctors are beginning to vocally recommend.
 
 
"Every patient has a right to a second opinion, and it would worry me if a physician was opposed," Joseph Fins, chief of medical ethics at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, told the Washington Post
 
CafeMom reached out to Cooke-Moore's lawyer, Christopher Cauble, for comment.
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