The Hippocratic Oath says that medical professionals are not supposed to do any harm to patients. However, a former Perry Hospital technician, Rachael Rapraeger, 33 did the unthinkable when she falsified 1,300 mammogram records.
Over the course of 18 months, Rapraeger deliberately logged in to the hospital computer system and signed off on approximately 1,300 mammogram reports. She was caught after a patient was notified that her test came back negative. The patient went to a different hospital three months later for a routine re-check and those test results came back positive. The patient then contacted Perry Hospital to tell them of their error.
The hospital launched an investigation into the matter. However, they were quite surprised when they reviewed the patient’s file and determined that the doctor who had signed off on her mammogram record was not even on duty at the hospital on the day of her exam.
When questioned regarding the issue, Rachael Rapraeger admitted that she had been falsifying mammogram records. She explained by saying she was behind on her work and because she could not catch up, she got to the point that she no longer cared about her job. At that point, Rachael Rapraeger started logging into the hospital computer system, assuming the identity of doctors, and clearing patient records by falsifying 1,300 mammogram records. She gave everyone a negative result so it did not create extra paperwork for her in the long run. One week later the hospital fired Rapraeger.
Women who had received mammograms at Perry Hospital within that 18-month period were strongly encouraged to be retested to ensure the results they received were accurate. As a result of Rapraeger’s faulty reporting, 10 of those patients were later diagnosed with breast cancer, two of which passed away from the disease.
Sara Bailey was one of the women Rapraeger gave a negative result to; however, she in fact had breast cancer. By the time, she received the proper diagnosis, her cancer had progressed and doctors were left no other choice but to remove her entire breast. Had she been given the proper diagnosis in the first place, doctors may have been able to simply remove the lump. Bailey’s breast removal surgery was a success and to date, she is cancer free; however, she is bitter toward Rapraeger for the loss of her breast.
Mary Brown was also diagnosed with breast cancer and it had progressed to the point that a mastectomy to remove her right breast was necessary. She feels lucky to be alive and that she has not had any more problems. When it comes to Rapraeger, Brown says she is getting what she deserves because she has brought it on herself.
Another woman was forced to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments that might otherwise have been unnecessary had she been given the proper diagnosis originally. As a result, she suffers from lingering effects of her treatments, and she has not been able to return to work.
In court, Rachael Rapraeger confessed to falsifying 1,300 mammogram records. After Houston County Superior Judge Katherine Lumsden chastised Rapraeger for playing Russian roulette with approximately 1,300 women’s lives, she sentenced her to six months in jail and placed her on 10 years of probation, during which time she cannot work in any position within the healthcare industry. She is also subject to a $12,500 fine. However, until a suitable place can be found for her to serve out her sentence, she is out of jail on bail in the amount of $50,000.
By Donna W. Martin