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A New York single mother had both breasts removed after a mix-up in a medical lab.

There was good news and bad news for a 35-year-old single mother from Long Island when she awoke from double mastectomy surgery in early October: the lab report was erroneous -- she didn’t have invasive lobular carcinoma after all.

A technician for CBLPath medical lab in Rye Brook admitted to “cutting corners” while labeling tissue biopsies, according to FOXNews.com.

Victim Files Suit

Darrie Eason has filed a lawsuit against CBLPath in State Supreme Court in Mineola last month seeking an undisclosed sum of money. CBLPath executive William Curtis said he could not speak about the litigation because of federal privacy laws. Curtis did say the doctor who approved Eason's diagnosis and the lab technician have been terminated by the company.

On October 3, Eason addressed the media, saying, "I didn't know what to believe,” according to Newsday.com. “They told me I had cancer and now they're telling me I didn't. I didn't know if the next day they were going to call me and say, 'Sorry, we made a mistake, you really do have cancer.'"

Established checks to prevent such errors are not foolproof. However, Jim Conway of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, said labs must create systems that prevent human errors from going unchecked. "We have to put in place systems that mitigate chances of a human being making a mistake," he said.

Similar Mistake Happened Two Years Ago in Long Island

Eason contends she suffers constant physical pain and has less strength and flexibility in her upper body. "I'd like for no woman of any age to have to deal with the pain and emotions that mistakes can cause," she said. "And I'd like somehow to change this -- mistakes like this can't happen."

This is not the first time this has happened in New York, or even Long Island. In 2005, a Garden City woman had a lumpectomy and 25 radiation treatments before finding out she never had cancer. In 2006, she sued Quest Diagnostics Lab, the Nassau Radiologic Group and four doctors. Her case is set for trial in 2008,

There are four types of mastectomy. The surgery performed depends on multiple factors, according to the Medline Plus website: stage of cancer, size of tumor, breast side and lymph node involvement. Medline Plus is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.


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