Back in September of 2015, a woman named Wendy Berner was diagnosed with one of the most horrible forms of cancer there is – Pancreatic. For many people, a pancreatic cancer diagnosis is one of the most terrifying there is. And due to this, people feel a desperate need to rely heavily on medical professionals to save their lives. In the case of Berner, that meant removing parts of her organs as a way to discontinue the spread of the cancer.
But there was only one problem with this method: Berner didn’t have cancer. Further worse is the fact that the doctors knew she didn’t have it. While this may sound like hyperbole, it is actually Berner’s real-life that now has her entangling The University of Kansas Medical Center in a heated lawsuit.
Via the KC Star
According to a lawsuit filed last month, Berner discovered after the procedure that she never had cancer. She allegedly found out neither from her KU surgeon, nor from Meenakshi Singh, the doctor who misdiagnosed her. The suit states she read about it in a business publication, which reported another KU doctor said his colleagues were trying to cover up the mistake.
“Wendy Ann Berner is the person who had to read a news article in order to discover the grave medical mistakes that will affect her for the rest of her life,” the suit says.
Singh, who was chairwoman of the pathology department at the time, was not certified in cytopathology, the science of diagnosing disease on the cellular level. A review by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found Singh was not qualified by KU’s own internal standards to make Berner’s diagnosis. And now the doctor, who is a defendant in the lawsuit, has let her license lapse and is no longer eligible to practice medicine in Kansas.
Admittedly, litigation processes tend to truncate important details due to lawyer gag orders. But it is difficult to imagine that this story is far from Berner’s account. The lawsuit is a slaughter, in a sense, of every possible responsible entity: University of Kansas Hospital Authority; the University of Kansas Medical Center; the University of Kansas Physicians group; and Berner’s surgeon, Timothy Schmitt.
It sounds as though a lot of people are inherently likely to feel the brunt of this horrible ineptness and evil. This woman no longer has parts of her organs, as well, she underwent intense surgery, all for what seems to be a complete fraud.
A hospital spokesman seems to feel that further details will clarify that her medical professionals and institution are in the right. And it seems their defense will somehow be built around “patient privacy,” at least according to his public statement over the matter.
“We need to be respectful of patient privacy and confidentiality, and because of that we are limited in what we can say on this matter,” McCulloch said. “That said, we do believe that our physicians and staff acted appropriately and with the best interests of our patient in mind.”
Clearly, there will be more to the story regarding this case. But it will be surprising to see how something this negligent will be defensible.