HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Another woman filed a complaint this month with the Virginia Board of Medicine about a Henrico doctor.
She too says he misread her mammograms, telling her she was fine when she really had Stage 4 breast cancer.
She's been in a fight for her life ever since.
“I’m a Christian. I’m a believer,” Dr. Taleshia Chandler said.
Sitting in the pew of her husband’s church in Richmond’s east end, Dr. Taleshia Chandler is 5 years into a never-ending fight to survive.
“And I know a lot of people don’t say this but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die,” Chandler said through tears.
“Just knowing that I went to the doctor, I just feel like they didn’t listen,” says Chandler.
The Richmond City School’s Assistant Principal was a patient of the Allison Breast Center for three years starting in 2013.
During a self-check at home in early 2015, she found a lump.
“It felt thicker and just felt not the same the - the same way it felt in my previous self-check,” said Chandler.
So, she went to the Allison Breast Center for a mammogram with Dr. Michael John Bigg. It was compared to exams in 2014 and 2013.
There, on the film, was something quite noticeable.
“It stood out to my amateur eye. I feel like anyone with no medical background could just look at the film and point and say ‘what is that.' It was just something that stuck out. And I was told it was just calcification, nothing to worry about. The edges of it looked different from the previous film and that’s why they had to do some additional tests again in 2015,” said Chandler.
The report says: No findings suspicious for malignancy are identified. They asked to see her back in three months.
In that follow up mammogram in May of 2015, Dr. Bigg signed this report: Again “no findings of malignancy.” She was told to come back in a year.
But she knew something wasn’t right and started having back pain. A few months later she got the news, Stage 4 breast cancer - it had spread to her liver and bones.
“Each time that I went. He looked me in my eye and shook my hand and gave me a rose. I didn’t want roses. I didn’t want handshakes. I wanted medical care that I’m entitled to,” said Chandler.
Dr. Bigg’s license was suspended by the Virginia Medical Board at the end of May. A 64 page report, accusing the doctor of misreading the mammograms of 18 women. One of those patients died in April. The board writing, “Dr. Bigg is incompetent to practice medicine and surgery with safety to patients and the public.”
We reached to both of Dr. Bigg’s attorneys and they declined an interview but attorney Margaret Hardy did email a statement:
“The practice has received requests from former patients for copies of their medical records and imaging and is working to respond to those requests in a timely manner that complies with state and federal privacy requirements.”
But numerous women, like Marjorie Mayo, said they’ve been calling since the medical board’s report was released in May and can’t get through on the phone line.
“I have a called many occasions and I get the answering machine. It says to leave a message but it doesn’t prompt you to leave a message and the message just keeps repeating,” said Mayo.
As for Dr. Taleshia Chandler, the cancer has spread to her brain, but she continues to fight for her children and husband to be here.
“I’ve been through so much in the last five years. I’ve had chemotherapy every three weeks since 2015. I have had surgeries, needles, medicine, so much medicine. I’m 46 years old - it has changed my life. I’m sorry,” Chandler says while wiping away tears.
The statute of limitations ran out on her case, but she filed a formal complaint with the medical board. She’s sharing her story to help other women.
“I hope that other women who see my story will trust their own gut. And even if you hear ‘oh you’re fine’ and you know in your heart that something is not right, keep going until you go to someone who listens,” said Chandler.
If you are trying to get through to the office to get your records here is a fax number and email that also may help. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Fax: 804-285-3245. Here’s another email you can try: email@example.com We are also hearing from a few women who had luck mailing in an official medical release form to the Allison Breast Center office. Records were then released to the new facility administering breast exams. So, also try to mail your request.
Also, insurance plans typically only cover one mammogram a year. If you think you need another look, you may need to get a copy of the medical board report and send it to your insurance company.
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