Harlem Woman Undergoes Mastectomy Only To Learn She Didn’t Have Cancer

A Harlem woman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, which resulted in her removing her left breast and undergoing additional surgeries to rectify complications. The emotional and physical ordeal left Eduvigis Rodriguez weary, but her experience would only prove to be in vain as doctors later realized she didn’t have cancer to begin with.

“I didn’t know whether to smile and thank God I didn’t have cancer or cry because I’ve been through so much,” 51-year-old Rodriguez said during an interview with The New York Post. 

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Rodriguez’s ordeal began when she found a lump in her breast. She then went to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital where a biopsy was conducted. According to a malpractice lawsuit filed in Manhattan supreme court, Rodriguez had benign extra growth tissue in her left breast that was believed to be cancerous. However, pathologist Dr. Jean-Marc Cohen misdiagnosed Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, a mother of adult children, was then sent to Lenox Hill hospital where the problems continued. According to a policy put in place since 2012, all pathology reports done by other hospitals must be reviewed by Lenox Hill staff before any major surgery. A review was not done in Rodriguez’s case despite surgeon Dr. Magdi Bebawi signing a form alleging one was completed.

Bebawi performed the surgery in April 2015, yet the mistake was only made apparent after Lenox Hill officials conducted testing on the tissue following Rodriguez’s surgery and realized it wasn’t cancerous. Doctors then received a Beth Israel sample and tested those with the outcome showing “benign breast tissue.”

After learning of the grave mistake, Cohen did testing on the tissue and came to the same conclusion. Per court documents, Cohen is said to have called Rodriguez. “After the surgery, when I was told that the review of the biopsy showed no cancer, I immediately called her and made her aware that I am very sorry and I feel very bad that we did this procedure for no cancer,” he said.

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Upon learning the news, Rodriguez says she’s now on a hunt for justice. “I want explanations. I do not want to see this happen to anyone else. I had confidence in the surgeon and the hospitals, but I cannot believe all the mistakes that were made.”