PERRY -- A former radiology technician accused of improperly entering negative results for mammograms was sentenced Tuesday to serve up to six months in a probation-detention facility.
Rachael Michelle Rapraeger, 33, of Macon, was accused of entering negative results for 1,289 mammograms at Perry Hospital from Jan. 22, 2009, to April 1, 2010, that were not read by a radiologist. Of those, 10 were actually positive, prosecutors have said.
Rapraeger was indicted on 10 felony counts of computer forgery and 10 counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct.
She pleaded guilty in Houston County Superior Court to all 10 misdemeanors and one felony count involving a woman who later died. The other felony counts were dismissed. She was sentenced immediately.
Houston County Chief Deputy Assistant District Attorney Dan Bibler said Rapraeger admitted to Perry police that she had personal issues that caused her to be disinterested in her job that resulted in a backlog in her work. She entered the negative results to catch up, the prosecutor said.
Sharon Holmes, a mother and wife from Perry, was among the 10 victims named in the indictment. She found a lump in her breast a few months after she received the falsified negative report.
Holmes told the judge she and her family have endured unnecessary pain and suffering because of Rapraegers actions.
Patricia Sidle, another victim named in the indictment, described Rapraeger as an accomplice to cancer in a statement read to the court by a victims advocate. Sidle was present in the courtroom.
Rapraeger was not responsible for me having cancer, but she is responsible for not following correct procedure and having it progress and grow for months until she was caught forging the radiologists name and giving a false report, Sidle said in the statement.
Rapraegers actions put Sidle and her family through the hell of watching and waiting with me to see how much damage was done in the delay.
Of the 10 victims named in the indictment, two have since died, Bibler said.
You played Russian roulette with the lives of essentially a thousand women in this community, Judge Katherine K. Lumsden told Rapraeger.
As a part of her sentence, Rapraeger cannot work in the health care profession while under probation. She must serve about nine years and six months on probation once released from a probation-detention facility.
She was allowed to remain free on a $50,000 bond and to voluntarily surrender to authorities once space in a probation-detention facility become available.
Rapraeger received first offender status, which means if she successfully completes her term, the convictions will come off her record.
Floyd Buford, her Macon attorney, said Rapraeger was overwhelmed, and when she got behind in her work, she began entering negative results. He also said she was not properly supervised by the hospital.
She wasnt in a conspiracy with any radiologist to try to cut corners, Buford said after the hearing. But she was overwhelmed.
She had too much work, and she was getting behind. She wanted to keep up. So the hospital, our position is, didnt give her any assistance, didnt give her any support there, and she just felt like to keep up she had to start faking some of these reports because she was so worried she couldnt keep up.
Victor Moldovan, an Atlanta attorney for Houston Healthcare System, which operates Perry Hospital, could not be reached immediately for comment.
Rapraeger was also fined $12,500 by the judge -- a split from the $25,000 requested by Bibler and no fine as sought by Buford.
Noting more than 30 civil lawsuits filed against Rapraeger, whom he described as poor, Buford asked the judge to forgo the fine. The civil suits, which also name Houston Healthcare System, have been filed in Bibb County Superior Court and Bibb County State Court. Some have settled out of court, with most pending, said Buford, who is not representing Rapraeger in the civil matters.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.