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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    SC
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    4

    Default Misdiagnosed with Cancer, Resulting in Major Surgery

    My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: SC

    I was diagnosed on Dec 17 '08 with Liver cancer which resulted in a Liver transplant in Jan 9, '09. Obviously this has changed my life, among other issues from the transplant I developed an incisional hernia which had to be repaired via surgery in 2012 and this left me with a deformed abdomen, it looks like something is trying to get out.

    I recently lost my job and am unable to find work due to my limitations. Due to the countless hours of time on my hands I was reading over my medical records from my transplant and find that in fact I did not have Liver cancer at all! I am completely devastated from this finding! Never were me or my wife told about the misdiagnosis. My wife being my primary care giver was in on all of my follow-up appointments and can verify that this was never reported to us.

    Do I have a case?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,494

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    Quote Quoting Sakamoto
    View Post

    Do I have a case?
    You might.

    No guarantees, of course, but your next step should be to consult a medical malpractice attorney and hope that the Statute of Limitations hasn't run out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
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    35,894

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    You were dx in Dec 08 and received a liver transplant three weeks later? It takes longer than that just to get approval, not to mention that cancer is low on the list of approved conditions (in other words, livers will be given first to those with more curable conditions).

    Take your medical records to a medmal attorney.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    Yes it was whirlwind fast! My wife worked for BCBS and that may have been why it got insurance approval so fast. Liver biopsy was never performed either, doctors said the MRI was enough for dx.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    833

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    With the extreme need for transplant organs, after evaluation, patients are placed on a UNOS list. For SC you were assessed using MELD and is given based on medical need. It is extremely unlikely you got a liver in three weeks without substantial need. There is not one doctor that assesses, but many. If there is a malpractice suit, it will be against all of them.

    Go ahead and take your records to a malpractice attorney. I suspect the problem might be you were looking for the word "cancer" rather than any of a number of other ones indicating a dire need. If there is any chance of success a medmal attorney will jump at it because the damages are so high so it could not hurt to ask. I would not get hope up as it is far more likely the transplant saved your life.

    http://www.unos.org/docs/MELD_PELD_C...umentation.pdf
    http://www.unos.org/docs/Liver_patient.pdf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    Quote Quoting Sakamoto
    View Post
    Yes it was whirlwind fast! My wife worked for BCBS and that may have been why it got insurance approval so fast. Liver biopsy was never performed either, doctors said the MRI was enough for dx.
    it has nothing to do with insurance approval. Sourcing donor livers has nothing to do with the insurance company. It just doesn't happen that fast and as dogmatique stated, cancer patients are not usually high on the list of recipients.

    Dang, I'm not sure you could even get all the required testing done in that time let alone get it done, get yourself on the recipients list, and have a viable donor liver show up in that time. It's just unrealistic, even if you were number one on the list.



    Due to the countless hours of time on my hands I was reading over my medical records from my transplant and find that in fact I did not have Liver cancer at all!
    so, what did you have? What did the bank of doctors that review every case proposed for a transplant miss?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
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    35,894

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    I'm not talking about insurance approval.

    This is how liver transplantation works:

    After a barrel-load of testing including a biopsy, cat and/or MRI scans and bloodwork, a diagnosis is made. With liver cancer, the liver IS biopsied because you need to "stage" the cancer before going any further.

    So, let's talk a bit about transplants.

    With virtually every condition other than cancer:

    The sicker your liver, the higher up you'd be on the transplant list.

    With liver cancer:

    The sicker your liver....the chances of you being on the list at all are dismal. Let me explain how and why this is the case.

    A cancerous liver must not have mets and must be healthy enough to get on the transplant list. A sicker liver will generally rule out transplant because it indicates that either the liver cancer itself has spread, or is actually the result of a tumor elsewhere in the body.

    So let's go further.

    The transplant coordination team is made up of health professionals who will complete their own battery of tests in addition to reviewing previous testing results. The likelihood of them "missing" the fact that there is no biopsy is virtually nil. There is just no way the transplant coordination team AND the initial treatment team would miss that.

    Now, you're telling us that you went from dx to transplant in 3 weeks. Outside of truly exceptional circumstances, this just isn't going to happen.

    (If you're not imminently at death's door you can be looking at 4 weeks just to get your first appointment with the transplant team!)

    So, someone somewhere doesn't have things quite right.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting Welfarelvr
    View Post
    With the extreme need for transplant organs, after evaluation, patients are placed on a UNOS list. For SC you were assessed using MELD and is given based on medical need. It is extremely unlikely you got a liver in three weeks without substantial need. There is not one doctor that assesses, but many. If there is a malpractice suit, it will be against all of them.

    Go ahead and take your records to a malpractice attorney. I suspect the problem might be you were looking for the word "cancer" rather than any of a number of other ones indicating a dire need. If there is any chance of success a medmal attorney will jump at it because the damages are so high so it could not hurt to ask. I would not get hope up as it is far more likely the transplant saved your life.

    http://www.unos.org/docs/MELD_PELD_C...umentation.pdf
    http://www.unos.org/docs/Liver_patient.pdf

    (They may make exceptions to MELD when we're talking about a primary tumor)

    - - - Updated - - -

    <-- is not yet on the transplant list. Yay!
    <-- may well end up on the list at some point.

    Oh yeah. Other than personal experience, my professional background is in clinical trials

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    It is extremely unlikely you got a liver in three weeks without substantial need.
    Concur. And even if there was indeed a liver available that quickly, there is NO WAY that a transplant would happen if there was nothing wrong with the receiving patient's liver. 16,000 people in the US are currently awaiting liver transplants. In the next 12 months, 6,300 of them will receive livers, and 1,400 of those remaining will die because a donor liver is not available. The national average wait time for a donor liver is just over a year, though in your part of the country, it's closer to 3 months. Even Steve Jobs, though, who was wealthy enough to have multiple evaluations done to qualify for waitlisting in multiple transplant regions, still waited several months for a liver to become available - and he had to fly across the country to avail himself of it.

    I'm rather intimately familiar with how organ donation and transplantation works - my bestie had a kidney transplant 6 years ago. More people are waiting for donor kidneys than any other organ - nearly 119,000, and 4,500 will die in the next 12 months. He had a living relative donor, and still had to wait THREE YEARS from diagnosis for his transplant to both get as much use of his one functioning kidney as possible, and get his body prepared to withstand the surgery which, while not as complex as it used to be, is still pretty risky.

    Sakamoto, if you got a transplant, something was DESPERATELY WRONG WITH YOU. It might not have been cancer, but whatever it was, it was serious enough to necessitate a transplant. Certainly, if you feel the need to question what happened, you can consult with a med mal attorney. An initial consultation will likely be free, but expect to pay around $500 for a full records review to determine if you actually have a case.

    I really don't think you do, though.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,211

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    I have some personal experience with this too. And there is NO FREAKIN' WAY you got a transplant unless you were sick enough to need it.

    My dad had a liver transplant about twelve years ago. He is a universal recipient when it comes to blood types, and he was on the faculty of the medical school where the transplant was done for 30 years so you can bet they cut him every break they could when it came to getting him at the top of the list. And it STILL took him months before the transplant was done.

    Ain't no way on earth you got a transplant at all, let alone in three weeks, unless you DESPERATELY needed it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Cancer Misdiagnosis

    I thought about the difference between "carcinoma" versus "cirrhosis". A layperson may understandably get the two mixed up.

    Then again, generally both diagnoses will require a biopsy anyway.

    (Personal aside: You know what the weirdest feeling in the world is? It's feeling the anesthesia needle scraping along the capsule. There's no pain at this point, but damn that's a weird feeling)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    I have some personal experience with this too. And there is NO FREAKIN' WAY you got a transplant unless you were sick enough to need it.

    My dad had a liver transplant about twelve years ago. He is a universal recipient when it comes to blood types, and he was on the faculty of the medical school where the transplant was done for 30 years so you can bet they cut him every break they could when it came to getting him at the top of the list. And it STILL took him months before the transplant was done.

    Ain't no way on earth you got a transplant at all, let alone in three weeks, unless you DESPERATELY needed it.
    And the OP would generally know about it. There is an exception to that general rule...but I'd like to see OP's response first.

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