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Former Ga. technician falsified mammogram reports

By Kate Brumback

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, April 27 2014 9:33 a.m. MDT

The surgery was successful and the cancer hasn't returned, but Bailey carries a bitterness inside her that surfaces when she talks about her experience.

"I'm not hurting and I don't think I have cancer, but I'm not a woman anymore," the 80-year-old said, her eyes welling with tears and her voice catching as she talked about the loss of her breast.

The emotional wound was opened again this month when Rapraeger received a sentence that Bailey saw as a slap on the wrist.

"I feel like we were thrown under the bus, and there will be an election day," Bailey said, explaining that she plans to organize an effort to get Houston Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Hartwig voted out of office.

Hartwig said he understands how Bailey feels and knows some people think Rapraeger got off easy, but he said his office weighed the evidence in the case very carefully and concluded the plea was a fair outcome. Even though Rapraeger did make statements and admissions to police, they were too general to prove specific instances of wrongdoing, he said.

"Given the entirety of the case and the issues that were there, I really feel like we did the best we could do to get a measure of justice for these women," he said, adding that it would have been even more disappointing if the case had gone to trial and she'd been found not guilty and walked out of there with no penalty.

For her part, Holmes, 49, has tried to move on, and testifying at Rapraeger's sentencing helped with that.

"I wanted her to know I'm a person, not just a name on a paper," she said.

But she's still angry because lingering effects from her chemotherapy and radiation — treatments she said her doctors told her might not have been necessary if the cancer had been caught by the original mammogram — have kept her from returning to work as a high school janitor.

Like Bailey, she thought Rapraeger's sentence was too light, and she was disappointed that Rapraeger didn't speak in court, instead letting her attorney read a statement for her.

"If she had gotten up and at least said, 'I'm sorry for what I did. I'm sorry these women had to go through this,' that, to me, would have meant that she was truly sorry for what we went through," Holmes said.

Mary Brown had a mammogram in August 2009. She was contacted by the hospital in May 2010 and told to come back for another. That one came back positive, and she had a mastectomy to remove her right breast. She considers herself lucky that she apparently had a slow-growing cancer and didn't need to have chemotherapy or radiation.

Brown, a 78-year-old Jehovah's Witness, credits her strong faith in God with helping her get through the ordeal and with helping her forgive Rapraeger.

"I don't have any hard feelings about her. Whatever she did, she brought it on herself," Brown said, though she conceded her relative good fortune might also be coloring her reaction. "Maybe if I had been dying sick from it I would feel different."

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