Woman Died From Stage IV Breast Cancer After Doctor Misread Her Mammograms For Years
A doctor in Richmond, Virginia, has had his medical license suspended after misreading the mammograms of at least 18 women. They were told they were clear when the mammograms actually showed evidence of cancer.
Dr. Michael John Bigg is a radiologist and the former owner of the Allison Breast Center. According to the profile for Dr. Bigg on WebMD Care, he practiced as a diagnostic radiologist for more than 30 years, with a focus on mammography and breast health for many of those years. His mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was a medical student. She was diagnosed two separate times, and beat it each time due to early detection.
He eventually took over ownership of the Allison Breast Center, a full-service mammography center in Richmond, Virginia. His wife worked with him as an RN and was also the CEO.
“Dr. Bigg, together with his wife are committed to their patients,” reads the facility’s website, “And to meet this, they recently installed the most advanced, and most comfortable mammography machines in the world, with the lowest radiation, and by far the highest resolution, allowing him to identify breast cancers as small as 1/25th of an inch.”
Despite the high-end screening equipment, it seems that Dr. Bigg misread over a dozen mammograms that lead to misdiagnoses. While the allegations levied against him involve 18 patients, there are hundreds more patients that are now trying to access their medical records in fear that the doctor also made a mistake reading their mammograms. However, the Allison Breast Center is now closed. This has made it extremely difficult for previous patients to obtain their medical records.
Kay Smith was one of the women who filed a complaint against Dr. Bigg with the board of medicine, known as patient “B” in documents. She also sued him in civil court.
Kay went to Dr. Bigg for regular mammograms at the Allison Breast Center for years. When she began feeling tired and out of breath, her primary care doctor referred her get a mammogram at a different facility. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — something that her mammograms had actually been showing for years.
Kay passed away from stage IV breast cancer at the hospital. To make it even more heartbreaking, she died alone, since the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her family members from visiting.
“You see the evidence in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, right there in front of you and you think, ‘This didn’t have to happen,’” said Kay’s daughter, Susan.
Dr. Bigg has two different attorneys; one to handle the civil lawsuit and the other to handle the case against him from the Board of Medicine. So far, he has denied the civil lawsuit against him, saying that he did not breach the standard of care, and did not “proximately cause” the alleged injuries.
However, a 60-age report from the medical board found otherwise and suspended his license.
“Dr. Bigg is incompetent to practice medicine and surgery,” the report states.
His hearing to determine if his license will be permanently revoked will be scheduled in the fall.
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