Iowa-licensed doctor sanctioned years after botched breast-cancer diagnoses

By: - August 1, 2022 11:39 am

The Iowa Board of Medicine has sanctioned a physician accused of repeatedly failing to detect breast cancer in patients. (Photo courtesy Iowa Board of Medicine.)

Three years after another state restricted a physician’s license for repeatedly failing to detect breast cancer in patients, the Iowa Board of Medicine has imposed similar sanctions.

Board records indicate Dr. Mark Guilfoyle is licensed in Iowa as a physician and practices diagnostic teleradiology, which involves the receipt of electronically transmitted medical images for diagnostic interpretation and consultations.

In September 2019, Guilfoyle entered into a settlement agreement with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine. That settlement stipulated that in 2018, while working at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Guilfoyle’s interpretation of mammograms was subjected to peer review by his colleagues. While that review was underway, Guilfoyle allegedly surrendered his clinical privileges as a member of the medical staff at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital.

Guilfoyle’s actions triggered an investigation by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, which concluded that Guilfoyle failed to detect evidence of breast cancer in “a number of patients” who were later diagnosed with breast cancer.

As part of a settlement with New Hampshire authorities, Guilfoyle agreed to stop reading and interpreting mammograms while practicing as a New Hampshire-licensed physician. He was also issued a reprimand and was fined $750. Based on that action, other sanctions were then imposed by the states of Kentucky, Idaho, Michigan, Vermont and Washington.

The Iowa board’s action prohibits Guilfoyle from reading mammograms while practicing under his Iowa license — although, according to the board, Guilfoyle voluntarily stopped reading mammograms five years ago.

Guilfoyle’s settlement agreement with the board indicates that he acknowledges having failed to detect breast cancer in several patients. He has asserted that some form of peer review of his work determined that his rate of cancer detection had been within an “acceptable range.”

Guilfoyle, who is now practicing diagnostic teleradiology in Michigan, declined to comment on the case.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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