Pacific Pathology Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

In the United States, millions of breast biopsies are performed each year to determine whether or not a patient has breast cancer. A biopsy is considered the definitive way to diagnose breast cancer. However, when a pathology lab mistakenly finds cancer that isn’t there, a patient may be subjected to unnecessary treatment and the fear of having a higher-grade cancer.

Unfortunately for many women in Oregon, this hypothetical situation has become a reality.

Beginning at least in 2020, Oregon pathology lab, Pacific Pathology Associates, Inc.(which was owned by Aurora Diagnostics and Aurora Diagnostics is now owned by Sonic Healthcare out of Australia), committed a series of errors while reviewing breast biopsy samples, causing women in Salem, Oregon and surrounding areas to be erroneously diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. The lab was misdiagnosing women’s breast cancer as HER2+ (HER2-positive) when it was HER2-negative . This led to many patients having to go through unnecessary chemotherapy and receiving unnecessary Herceptin. Many of the patients were cancer patients of Salem Health or Oregon Oncology Specialists (formerly Hematology Oncology of Salem).

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer in Oregon between 2020-2022 and learned you were wrongfully diagnosed HER2+, please contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys today.

Pacific Pathology Breast Biopsy Errors

Located in Marion County, Oregon, Pacific Pathology Associates, Inc employs pathologists and other employees and contractors to conduct medical testing for Oregon physicians. Their medical testing includes examining biopsies and immunohistochemistry testing for the presence of HER2 proteins. In the Fall and Winter of 2020, the lab overstained breast biopsy samples, causing numerous women to be falsely diagnosed with and treated for HER2+ breast cancer.

In January 2022, some women were informed that defendant Pacific Pathology’s testing was flawed and that they were HER2-negative and not HER2+ (HER2-positive). It is our belief that other women have likely been wrongly diagnosed and received unnecessary chemotherapy and Herceptin as a result of the mistakes.

What is HER2+ Breast Cancer?

HER2+ (HER2-positive) breast cancer is breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Nearly 1 in 5 breast cancers tests positive for HER2. The protein promotes the growth of cancer cells and HER2+ cancers tend to be more aggressive than other forms of breast cancer.

Is Pacific Pathology legally responsible for the Errors?

Pacific Pathology conducted an immunohistochemistry test of the biopsied material to determine the level of the HER2 proteins and issued a report stating that patients were HER2+ (HER2-positive).

The patients’ physicians relied on the lab’s HER2+ (HER2-positive) finding when determining the nature and extent of the cancer treatment. In at least one case, the physicians decided to treat a patient with HER2+ directed treatment for approximately one year. The HER2+ directed therapy included the drug Herceptin and chemotherapy. The patient would not have received the HER2+ directed therapy, including chemotherapy, but for Pacific Pathology’s HER2+ (HER2-positive) finding.

In many cases, chemotherapy for HER2+ breast cancer is administered over the course of a year.

A cancer diagnosis is devastating and treatment is expensive and invasive. Pacific Pathology Associates, Inc may be responsible for paying damages to women who may have been affected. This includes:

How Paulson Coletti Can Help

At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we believe deeply in holding healthcare providers accountable when their errors or negligence harms patients. We are currently representing at several women whose lives were turned upside down by the preventable errors that Pacific Pathology made.

If you or a loved one were misdiagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, please, contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC as soon as possible. We will listen to the facts of your case and clearly explain your legal options. You deserve justice for what you have gone through, our attorneys can help. We offer a free and confidential case evaluation and never charge a fee to our clients unless we win.