Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 11:17am CDT by 301418ab


Location: 9550 Zionsville Rd
Indianapolis, IN, 46268, US

URL: http://dcla.com/

Category: Other

On 2/22/11 I had a hysterscopy D & C performed because of suspected uterine cancer. My physician informed my family that he was requesting STAT results so we could move forward with treatment as soon as possible. He advised us to call him on Thursday afternoon, which was the soonest he expected the results to be available. Much to our surprise, he called us the next morning, Wednesday 2/23/11 to say that he had just spoken with the pathologist who examined my specimen and the report revealed that I did NOT have cancer. What I did have were some pre-cancerous cells, which had about a 30% chance of turning to cancer at some point in time. The doctor said that due to my age and the precancerous cells, he would recommend a hysterectomy, but added that there was NO RUSH to get it done. Of course, we were elated with the news because the doctor had indicated that he was certain that I had endometrial cancer. Needless to say it was a huge load off our minds and we were able to relax and celebrate for the first time in many months. I planned on putting off surgery for several months because of my work schedule as well as my husband's. However, our joy was short-lived when I received a phone call from my doctor the next evening. I was a little puzzled when I saw his name on caller ID, but thought he was just calling to check up on me since I had called his office earlier and spoke with his nurse. Much to my surprise, he said "I think I am going to have to make you nervous again!" and asked if my husband was home so he could talk to both of us at the same time. At that point, I knew it could only be bad news! He explained that he had felt uneasy when he gave us the results because it didn't add up in his "gut", BUT then he figured that is WHY things are sent to a pathologist! They are the experts and he figured his "gut" was just wrong this time. It was only when he received results for ANOTHER patient on whom he had also performed a hysteroscopy D & C on the same day, that he began suspecting the worst possible scenario; the lab had mixed up our specimens. He immediately checked on HIS end to make sure nothing had gone wrong at the surgery center. He KNEW the specimens were labeled correctly because he did not even start on my case until everything from the other patient was done, including the handling of her specimen. After verifying that nothing went wrong at his end, he called DCL labs. They initially claimed that it could not have happened there and when he told them that he had already checked his end, they admitted that it COULD have happened if it was put in the wrong "block". After much discussion on how to further identify the proper specimens, including the ridiculous suggestion that he should perform a second D & C on both patients, it was decided that DNA sampling should be done since that would match blood to blood in the specimens. That is when the doctor had to call me and the other patient so that we could have DNA collected. The long and short of it is that the lab called the doctor the next day and admitted that they had made the error by have the specimen from me and the other patient on the grossing table at the SAME TIME! Whoever prepared the slide cassettes ended up putting my samples on the other patient's slides and vice versa. They even printed out a "correct" report because they knew they had made the error. My doctor insisted on doing the DNA testing anyway because he wanted to be 100% sure and he wanted ME to be 100% convinced that the results did indeed belong to me! I was then scheduled for CT scans, a complete physical, a consultation with an oncologist and surgery for a complete hysterectomy and probably a lymphadenectomy. I cannot tell you the living hell this put me and my family through. I DID have surgery performed on 3/29/11 for endometrial adenocarcinoma FIGO grade 1, stage 1B. The surgeon performed a radical hysterecomty and bilateral lymphadenectomy. Fortunately, since the cancer was in an early stage with no lymph node invasion, I do not required chemotherapy or radiation. However, there was more than 50% invasion into the uterine wall. I will need to be closely monitored for some time. The lab made a HUGE mistake, but they are off the hook because I didn't suffer any permanent disability, death or delay in treatment (thanks to a doctor who knew what he was doing - NO thanks to DCL labs!) IF I had waited to have surgery, as was my plan when I was told I only had some precancerous cells, who knows what the end result would have been. Cancer that spread deeper into the uterine wall and into the lymph nodes and other organs requiring chemotherapy and radiation is certainly a strong possibility of what that would have been. The most frustrating thing is that this lab is off the hook legally! Since there was NO delay in treatment, no permanent disability, no unnecessary surgery, the law says there is NO case. I even told one attorney "so you are saying that IF I didn't get treatment in a timely manner and found out too late that I had cancer and ended up dying, my family would be able to get a huge settlement and they could come visit me at the cemetery!" He said " thst's exactly right - it's the LAW!!" How fair is that? It's not about money - it's about screwing up patient's lives and not having to be accountable for it! It's business as usual for them, while we are left suffering. I can't even claim pain and suffering because I am NOT under psychiatric care due to their error!! Thank God I don't need it and I am now 7 weeks post op, healed well with no complications!! But because of THAT, DCL is off the hook!

To top it off, they even had the audacity to bill me for that lab test! The billing company told me the only way the charges could be removed is if my physician contacted them and asked them to remove the charges due to "INVALID RESULTS" I told them THAT would be an understatement. They also billed me for the DNA test!!! NOW THAT'S NERVE!! My doctor spoke to them and they have removed all the charges! Wow-that's really big of them. They had to be TOLD that they shouldn't have billed me and my insurance company. I have called them and told them that they need to return any money they have received from my insurance company and if they don't, I will see to it that they do! I am thilled to be recovered from my surgery and considered "cancer-free" at this time, but I am STILL very angry about the situation and the unbelievable stress it added to an already VERY stressful situation! I will be reporting this situation to CLIA, both federal and state agencies for Missouri and Indiana, since the corporate office for DCL is in Indiana, and there is a regional office for St. Louis, which is where I live. I wil be reporting the examining pathologist who is the head of the regional St. Louis office to CAP as well.


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