CJ&D Medal of Justice Award, May 24, 2012: Molly Akers

Thursday, May 24, 2012

People who are wrongfully injured – and the families of those who have died – are the forgotten faces in the debate over the civil justice system. 

The CJ&D Medal of Justice recognizes the inspirational struggles of those who have been harmed through no fault of their own, and who turned their misfortune into something positive.  By successfully challenging wrongdoers in court, they stood up for justice and as a result, made the world a better place.  We admire their strength, respect their wisdom and honor their courage.

CJ&D Medal of Justice Award: Molly Akers


In 2004, young mother Molly Akers, from New Lenox, IL, went to the hospital for surgery to remove a cancerous lump on her neck. Physicians at the hospital, having noticed a swelling under her arms, decided to order a biopsy on her breast.  The radiologist told her that that biopsy revealed that she had breast cancer.  After a series of mammograms, doctors found no evidence of a tumor. They concluded that she had a rare form of breast cancer, in which there were cancerous cells but no tumor.

She went through the painful process of having her right breast removed along with 24 lymph nodes.  After the operation, the doctor called her into his office where he informed her that she never actually had breast cancer. The radiologist who reviewed her slides accidentally switched Molly’s slides with those of another woman. Molly, who never had breast cancer, was left disfigured due to an unnecessary mastectomy, while another woman, who had breast cancer was told that she was cancer-free.

Molly went to court and with the help of her attorneys, Robert A. Clifford and Keith A. Hebeisen at the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, her case is settled.

Molly’s experience was emotionally devastating as she struggled with nightmares and the knowledge that she would not be able to return to work as a kickboxing instructor.  But this did not stop Molly from fighting those who seek to limit patients’ rights.  On March 1, 2010, Molly joined CJ&D in Washington DC with five other survivors of medical negligence and family members, for a meeting with White House staff.  She told them about the devastating problem of medical negligence in this country, and the need to protect patients’ legal rights.

Molly, we honor you, and we thank you.

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