7 months of chemotherapy for misdiagnosed cancer: 1 woman’s story

Nearly every day, a doctor in Illinois tells a patient the words no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.” The diagnosis could mean invasive surgery and months of debilitating radiation or chemotherapy treatments. After it is gone, there is the ever-present worry that it could come back.

Now imagine that your doctor tells you that you have cancer when you don’t. All the pain, illness and fear that you will not survive that is a waste of time and energy due to a physician’s misdiagnosis.

That is what happened to a woman in another state. Her doctor told her she had Stage IV breast cancer in 2009 and that her condition was terminal. He prescribed chemotherapy, presumably to lengthen her life, and the woman’s hair fell out because of the treatments. She began hospice care at home and gave away her belongings

She later said that the diagnosis made her began mourning for herself. She developed an anxiety problem that required medication. In 2011, she went to the hospital for anxiety treatment and a scan discovered that she did not have breast cancer.

In fact, she never had the disease. The oncologist who made the midiagnosis in 2009 had misread a PET/CT scan. When the woman learned the truth, she was both happy and angry at the effect the doctor’s malpractice had had on her life the previous two years.

She later filed suit against the doctor, who is now deceased. In July, the jury found for the patient, awarding her damages from the oncologist’s estate.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Victoria woman wins lawsuit after mistake had prepared her to die,” Robert Stanton, July 16, 2013


Failure to Diagnose

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