A physician employed at a Kansas hospital filed a whistleblower lawsuit on July 1, 2016 against his hospital, alleging that the head of the hospital’s pathology department misread a tissue slide as showing cancer that resulted in the patient having a healthy essential organ surgically removed.
The Kansas whistleblower lawsuit alleges that the pathologist added reports to the patient’s medical record after she became aware of the cancer misdiagnosis, and that the pathologist also ordered colleagues to alter the patient’s medical records to hide the cancer misdiagnosis in order to cover up her medical mistake.
The whistleblower alleges in his lawsuit: “In 2015 [the plaintiff] learned that the Chair of KUMC’s/KU Hospital’s Department Of Pathology misdiagnosed a patient’s tissue sample by concluding that the patient had cancer. As a result of the misdiagnosis, the patient was erroneously informed that the patient had cancer, and the patient’s essential body organ (or a substantial portion of the essential body organ) was removed at [the] Hospital. The patient was not told of the misdiagnosis, and was not informed that the essential body organ was not cancerous [“The post-surgery re-examination of the pre-surgery tissue sample established that the pre-surgery sample was not cancerous, and that the pre-surgery tissue sample had been misdiagnosed by the Chair of the KUMC/KU Hospital Department of Pathology. The removed essential body organ, in fact, was normal, and should not have been removed.”].
“For months KUMC/Hospital withheld the correct diagnosis from the patient, and to the best of [the plaintiff’s] knowledge and belief the patient is still unaware that the patient did not have cancer. When [the plaintiff] learned of the misdiagnosis and the Respondents’ failure to inform the patient, [the plaintiff] complained to administrative authorities at KUMC and KU Hospital, and urged the physicians and administrators to rectify the errors by correcting the patient’s medical errors and informing the patient. KUMC’s and KU Hospital’s administrators resisted [the plaintiff’s] efforts to thoroughly investigate the matter and conduct a review known as a “Root Cause Analysis”; and KUMC and KU Hospital and did not take corrective action.
“After KUMC and KU Hospital failed to investigate and take corrective action, [the plaintiff] submitted a report to the Joint Commission, an outside auditing agency. As a result of [the plaintiff’s] submission of the report and his persistent requests that the records be corrected and the patient informed, [the plaintiff] has been retaliated against and his job has been threatened in violation of K.S.A. § 75-2973.”
The whistleblower filed the lawsuit to protect himself from retaliation by the hospital for his reporting the matter to the auditing agency, and he does not seek monetary compensation, accept for his attorney fees.
The hospital alleges that the patient in question “was fully informed of the diagnosis and treatment plan after surgery and prior to leaving the hospital and is pleased with the care and clinical outcome.”
If you or a loved one may have been misdiagnosed due to a pathology error and you have suffered harm as a result, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible medical negligence claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case against a pathologist, if appropriate.
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