Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Each of the three placed the blame for her ordeal on another party in the courtroom: Cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit

Michelle Kachurak knew someone was responsible, and went to court to figure it out.

Doctors had detected high levels of hCG in the Pennsylvania woman’s blood, in fall 2000. Pregnancy and certain types of cancer are the only sources of HCG. In hindsight, it is clear that a rare protein in her body interfered with the test, yielding a false positive result. Though she likely never had any hCG in her system, doctors diagnosed her with choriocarcinoma, a life-threatening reproductive cancer associated with the uterine wall.

She began chemotherapy that September. The hCG never seemed to fully leave her system, even with increasingly aggressive chemotherapy.

She researched her symptoms on the Internet, and insisted on a urine test, which occurred in February 2001. The urine test showed no hCG. Unfortunately, her doctors failed to properly review the test results, and she only obtained the results months later. In the meantime, her chemotherapy continued—through a total of 12 rounds, over seven months.

Each of the three placed the blame for her ordeal on another party in the courtroom. The lawyer for the doctor who overlooked the urine test blames the doctor who made the misdiagnosis. The lawyer for the doctor who made the misdiagnosis blames Abbott Laboratories, which makes the blood test. Lawyers for Abbott Laboratories blamed both doctors, saying the product’s instructions clearly warned against using it to diagnose cancer. The doctors filed suit against Abbott, but have since dropped the lawsuit.

Advice: Read about your lab tests in TauMed’s free directory, and make sure you get a copy of the test results. After doing Internet research like Michelle, you may need to insist on additional tests.

Read another cancer story, or read Wade Malcolm’s source story.

No comments: