The lead radiological technologist at a hospital in a small town near Atlanta spent 18 months signing off on mammograms she shouldn’t have, resulting in more than a thousand false testing reports, reports the Associated Press.
She told police she had personal issues that made her not care about her job, and she was behind on stacks and stacks of mammogram films. Instead of actually going through the monotony of paperwork involved, she simply went into the hospital’s computer system, pretended she was various physicians and gave each patient the all-clear.
All was revealed in April 2010 when a patient who previously had a negative report went and got another mammogram a few months later at a different hospital. This time, it showed she had breast cancer. The hospitals looked into the two different results and realized the first doctor hadn’t even been at work on the day the faulty report was filed.
The woman confessed to her supervisor and was fired a week later.
For some of the 10 women who later found out they had lumps or cancerous tumors despite those apparent “all-clear” mammograms, the sentence isn’t enough to make up for what they went through.
An 80-year-old who received a false-negative report and had to have her entire breast removed by the time doctors realized she had cancer says the sentence felt like a slap on the wrist.
“I’m not hurting and I don’t think I have cancer, but I’m not a woman anymore,” she told the AP. She wants to organize an effort to vote out Houston Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Hartwig out of office.
“I feel like we were thrown under the bus, and there will be an election day,” she explained.
He says he knows how some of the women might feel, but that his office felt the tech’s plea was fair.
“Given the entirety of the case and the issues that were there, I really feel like we did the best we could do to get a measure of justice for these women,” he said, adding that it would’ve been worse for the case to go to trial and have the technician found not guilty.
Former Ga. technician falsified mammogram reports [Associated Press]