Salmon Arm woman claims hospital lab mix-up delayed cancer diagnosis | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Salmon Arm woman claims hospital lab mix-up delayed cancer diagnosis


A Salmon Arm woman is taking Interior Health and her surgeon to court after she says her cancer went undiagnosed for eight months.

In a notice of claim filed in BC Supreme Court, the woman claims doctors explained a biopsy sample from her breast tissue "may have" been mixed up with another patient's, meaning she went eight months without a cancer diagnosis. is not naming the patient who launched the civil suit against her doctor and Vernon Jubilee Hospital through Interior Health.

It began in October 2019 when a suspicious lump was found in her breast. It was around 1.5 centimetres large and doctors ordered a biopsy that month. Doctors later determined there was "no evidence of malignancy," by Oct. 31, according to court documents.

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Months later, another doctor ordered a biopsy when the mass doubled in size because it still seemed suspicious, despite the previous test results.

This time, the June 8, 2020, results confirmed she had cancer. She met with her doctor the next day who explained her previous specimen was "compromised" and might have been mixed up with a different patient's, according to court documents.

It appears that she wasn't given a full explanation of how that happened.

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"How the specimen mix-up or reporting mix-up occurred is unknown to the plaintiff," court documents read.

She had the lump removed in July, followed by chemotherapy in 2021, according to the claim. The claim doesn't say whether she still has cancer, but does say she still requires medical care.

It does, however, claim the delay in her diagnosis affected her treatment. Court documents suggest she would not have required surgery if the lump was diagnosed properly more than seven months earlier.

She's seeking an unspecified amount of damages for "negligence" by her Vernon doctor and Interior Health.

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Court documents don't mention what might have happened to the other patient whose samples were erroneously attributed to the Salmon Arm woman.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

The patient's lawyer, Keri Grenier, didn't respond to a request for comment.

Interior Health has not yet filed a statement of defence and refused to comment on the patient's claims and about any policies that relate to the handling of patient's lab specimens.

"Interior Health cannot comment on matters before the court," a spokesperson said in an emailed response.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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