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Dear Spencer:

I am a forty two year old woman living in Broward County, Florida.  I have had a lump on my breast for the last two years.    It has not changed in size.  I showed the lump to my doctor and he said we should just wait and see if it changes.  I had a mammogram, but do not know the results.

I am worried because I have a family history of breast cancer.  My insurance company does not let me go outside my plan for second opinions. 

What do I do?

Thank you, Barbara C.
Coral Springs, Florida

Dear Barbara:

Thank you for your email.  First of all, I hope that there is no cancer and you are fine.  That being said, you need to immediately take control of your own health and not rely on your doctor or health insurance to be proactive.  Especially, with your family history.

You should immediately locate the nearest Board Certified Clinical Oncologist.  I am reluctant to recommend a particular doctor, but you might want to contact the

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami.  Either way TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, for your life may very well depend on it.

I also would recommend that you personally pick up a copy of all of your records including your mammograms and bring copies of both to your consultation with the specialist. Do not delay.

A failure to diagnose cancer case would fall under

The 2009 Florida Statutes.  There are very strict guidelines and restrictions for medical negligence cases and none of them are in favor of patients or claimants.  Section 766.203 contains the presuit investigation of medical negligence claims and defenses by prospective parties.

In pertinent part, a potential claimant must, before filing suit, conduct an investigation and then file a Notice of Intent. Before issuing the Notice, pursuant to Section 766.106, the claimant must conduct an investigation to ascertain that there are reasonable grounds that the defendant doctor or hospital was  negligent in the care or treatment; and that

(b) Such negligence resulted in injury or death.

An additional and expense part of the investigation also requires potential claimants include the submission of a verified written medical expert opinion… otherwise called an affidavit… from a medical expert.  The affidavit has to state how or why the doctor or hospital fell below the standard of care or in other words was negligent.

The Florida medical malpractice Statute is very specific as to how the expert  is defined in 766.202(6).  Not all doctors are experts for all cases.

None of the above should even be attempted by someone who is not a qualified and experienced medical negligence lawyer. 

In Florida there is a very short statute of limitations that only serves to help doctors and hurt patients.  In other words, there is not much time to exercise one’s legal rights.  Generally speaking  Florida the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from when the patient (or sometimes a particular family member or guardian) either knew, or should have known with the exercise of reasonable diligence, that the injury has occurred and there is a reasonable possibility that the injury was caused by medical malpractice.

This definition comes from a combination of the actual statute itself, (see 95.11, F.S.) and multiple Florida case decisions which describe what is necessary for one to have knowledge of the “incident”, which is the language used in the statute. Do not attempt to analyze these dates on your own.  Please consult with a competent and experienced medical negligence attorney. 

We wish you all the best in your care and treatment. 

Thank you again for your question, 

 Spencer Aronfeld

Board Certified Trial Lawyer