An Italian woman is suing her local health authority in Rimini for cancer treatment on the wrong breast.
According to Italian news website TGCOM24, the 41-year-old patient received months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy on her right breast, when it was her left that was affected by the cancer.
It was only after the woman reportedly noticed a burn mark on her healthy breast that she realized the mistake.
The woman had been diagnosed in 2011 and first received an operation to remove a lump in her left breast at a hospital in Santarcangelo. After the surgery, she began visiting an outpatient clinic in Rimini for her follow-up care. It was at that oncology facility that she received cancer treatment on the wrong breast.
After the woman confronted doctors with her suspicions, clinic workers allegedly confirmed that she had received chemotherapy and radiotherapy on the unaffected breast, according to local reports.
The Italian woman appeared at a preliminary hearing in December and was scheduled to return to court last week. However, the date was postponed. It appears there may be an issue over whether her case could be considered a criminal matter. While the prosecutor reportedly holds that there is no injury under criminal law, the patient's attorney argues otherwise.
"It’s the first case in Italy of such an error. In the world, only in the United States in Pennsylvania, [has there been] a similar [case] to that at the Rimini hospital,” said the woman's lawyer, Roberto Urbinati, according to Italy's The Local.
The woman is seeking 800,000 euros (nearly $1.1 million) in damages.