Home Health Oregon Pathologist Reportedly Missed Cancer Diagnoses

Oregon Pathologist Reportedly Missed Cancer Diagnoses

by News7

A pathologist with Providence Health & Services, which operates hospitals across seven western states including Washington and Oregon, allegedly misinterpreted lab results that led to misdiagnoses.

In at least one case, pathologist Jeffrey Harter, MD, reportedly incorrectly delivered results that should have been interpreted as positive for cancer, leading to a delay in care, according to a report by Fox 12 in Oregon.

Patient Jessica Vickers told the Fox affiliate that she had a family history of breast cancer, including a mother who had passed away from chemotherapy-related leukemia during her treatment.

Vickers had a biopsy of her breast done by Harter at the Providence Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon, following an MRI that revealed lumps.

Vickers told Fox 12 that the doctor told her “‘they’re most likely benign.’ And I was like, ‘what do you mean, most likely? Like, how do you definitively answer that? Most likely isn’t a good enough answer.’ And he’s like, ‘I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I’m really good at reading these. You’ve nothing to worry about in my opinion. They’re benign.’ So I didn’t think I had to question it anymore.”

About a year later, her primary care doctor called her, and Vickers recounted that “he was in tears, because he knows my history.” He told her, “I need to tell you that your pathology results that you got last year are wrong and that you have some form of cancer.”

Vickers said she became angry as her doctor told her he would be calling two other patients, each in a similar situation to hers.

Fox 12 said it reviewed additional cases where pathology reports from Harter were read as negative for cancer, and turned out to be positive. These included tissue samples from breast biopsies, cervical cell samples, and thyroid removals, all from women.

Providence acknowledged in a statement, last updated on February 20, that as “part of our routine internal review process, we have discovered some discrepancies in the work of one pathologist.”

“We apologize for the concerns this will cause our patients,” the statement continued. “We have no reason to believe there are concerns involving any other pathology findings. We can tell you the pathologist in question is not providing services at Providence.”

In an email to MedPage Today, a Providence representative wrote, “Providence takes the circumstances concerning certain pathology reviews in Oregon very seriously and we apologize for any concerns this causes our patients and their families.”

“The concerns about these reviews surfaced during our own routine quality review process,” the representative added. “We are engaged in a thorough investigation of this matter, and it’s a critical priority for us to actively reach out to those patients who are currently affected and their clinicians.”

Neither statement identified the pathologist, their workplace, or the number of patients affected.

According to the Oregon Medical Board’s license verification service, Harter has been practicing since 1993. His license is listed as “lapsed.”

Sophie Putka is an enterprise and investigative writer for MedPage Today. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Discover, Business Insider, Inverse, Cannabis Wire, and more. She joined MedPage Today in August of 2021. Follow

Source : MedPageToday

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