False results mamograms Miami
Elías Alarcón/Pixabay

While they can be life-saving, mammograms are often uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing experiences for women. To make it worse, hundreds, if not thousands, of South Florida women have been left questioning the accuracy of their recent screenings at a Miami hospital. This unsettling development raises broader concerns, leaving millions of women to wonder if similar errors could occur at their own healthcare facilities, potentially affecting the crucial early detection of breast cancer.

The Miami mammogram crisis started a few days ago when a review uncovered significant discrepancies in the quality of mammograms performed between March 14, 2022, and March 14, 2024, at the North Shore Medical Center. The hospital went on to notify affected patients and their healthcare providers. Now, the FDA has gotten involved.

The FDA intervenes Miami hospital

Federal regulators from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have stepped in, halting mammogram services at the hospital and urging patients to retest due to concerns that the images did not meet industry standards.

Cathy Pague, spokesperson for North Shore Medical Center, acknowledged the lapse, stating, "It was determined that the administration and evaluation of these mammographies were not in line with the industry standard and could be subject to an inaccurate interpretation."

Dr. Terri Noe, the lead interpreting physician at North Shore, underscored the gravity of the situation in a letter to patients, noting the FDA's finding that the hospital failed to meet the clinical image quality standards set by the American College of Radiology.

"There is a serious concern about the quality of the mammography that our facility performed," she wrote, emphasizing the need for many patients to seek additional screenings at certified facilities.


A deeper crisis

This development is just one of the latest challenges for North Shore Medical Center, which has been grappling with financial instability. Owned by Steward Health Care System, the hospital has seen a series of cutbacks and layoffs, including the closure of its labor and delivery, neonatal, and behavioral health units earlier this year. These measures were part of a broader strategy to mitigate financial losses as Steward Health Care System seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In light of these revelations, the hospital has proactively reached out to patients and their physicians, complying with FDA requirements. "We are voluntarily covering the costs for the reevaluation of individual mammograms and offering new screenings for all those who have not had subsequent screenings," Pague assured. However, she specified that these reevaluations need to be conducted at another certified facility within the hospital's health network or a partner facility. Steward Health Care System, which is attempting to sell its portfolio of 31 hospitals, including several in Florida, remains under significant scrutiny.


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