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  1. #1
    teribelle Guest

    My 18 yr old son died, possible misdiagnosis

    What is the name of your state? NC

    Hello everyone,
    My story is so long that I would like to minimize it to a couple of comments and questions**************.
    My son had (undiagnosed) Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. At time of diagnosis, his wbc was: 500,000 / platelets: 50,000
    with only 5 pints of blood left in his body. Specialists at the hospital said he was few hours from death when brought in. (9/10/01)

    He was tested for DVT, 10 days before (8/30/01) (none found) but for some reason, his doctor was injecting him with coumadin and lovenox. And may have been before 8/30/01.

    He was having nosebleeds, vomited blood, actually all of the classic ALL symptoms.

    I am not understanding why a blood thinner could be cleared for medicating him with such bad cbc's.
    Anyone have any q's or information?
    Thanks so much

  2. #2
    JackSchroder Guest

    Re: My 18 yr old son died, possible misdiagnosis

    Originally posted by teribelle
    What is the name of your state? NC

    Hello everyone,
    My story is so long that I would like to minimize it to a couple of comments and questions**************.
    My son had (undiagnosed) Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. At time of diagnosis, his wbc was: 500,000 / platelets: 50,000
    with only 5 pints of blood left in his body. Specialists at the hospital said he was few hours from death when brought in. (9/10/01)

    He was tested for DVT, 10 days before (8/30/01) (none found) but for some reason, his doctor was injecting him with coumadin and lovenox. And may have been before 8/30/01.

    He was having nosebleeds, vomited blood, actually all of the classic ALL symptoms.

    I am not understanding why a blood thinner could be cleared for medicating him with such bad cbc's.
    Anyone have any q's or information?
    Thanks so much
    I'm sorry, but you have omitted a lot of important information. What was your son's age? How long had he been under a doctor's care? You say acute lymphocytic leukemia, how long had signs of this illness been present?
    Generally, children with sudden onset of leukemia do die. If they are uner age of about 5, not much can be done. Older kids have a better chance, and the cure rate runs a little over 60% or so.
    You will have a lot of trouble finding a lawyer to help you, although your question does not appear to be asking if you should sue anyone. Perhaps this doctor was treating your son badly, but without more information I can't tell. One thing I can tell you, as I have above, lawyers will shy away from any case like your son's. Children are not worth much in this world of ours, and a lawyer has to see some money in a malpractice case.
    If you have more information, send it along. Maybe someone on this panel will have a different notion.

  3. #3
    teribelle Guest
    Thanks for getting back so quick.

    I know I left alot out, for legal advise. I have so many q's about this and the story is very long.
    My son was 18 at time of diagnosis and passed at 19. He was begging for medical attention for the symptoms he was having. I don't care about money, I care about my son being left to suffer. The side effects from the blood thinners are pretty close to leukemia pains. So his treatment, from my understanding, was like treating a headache with a hammer to the head.

    He was trying to get medical attention for what he felt was some kind of serious medical condition. He was misdiagnosed and from what I can gather is, the treatment he was receiving for a non existant problem was not only making his leukemia worse but was delaying life saving medical attention.
    ALL is the MOST treatable leukemia, with an 80-90% remission rate. However, it is my understanding that as in all cancers, the longer you wait, the harder it is to cure.

    Somebody IS at fault, I want someone to look me in the face and tell me why my son is dead.

  4. #4
    JackSchroder Guest
    You should see a malpractice lawyer now. Your son may have had a fairly long life ahead of him, and he certainly should have had far less pain. Go now. You should ask your local Bar Association or Legal Aid Society for help in finding a lawyer. You have a right to sue. One problem that may lie ahead is the "statute", but a wily old lawyer often can overcome that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    There is not enough information in your post;you could not provide sufficient information on this site for anyone to tell you why your son died or if the treatment he received was proper.

    Your son was not casually ill; your son was critically ill and was hours from death when he was initially seen. Reversing this process is not done in a short period of time and is not always possible.

    Coumadin or heparin usually is often given in the presence of bleeding to prevent a life-threatening and nearly 100% fatal condition known as DIC. The goal is to keep the blood from clotting in the major organs where the majority of the blood is going in an effort to keep the body alive. When the blood clots in the major organs, there is no clotting factor left to stop bleeding from the nose, the eyes, the skin, etc. The person bleeds to death. Therefore, a blood thinner is given to keep the blood from clotting in the major organs and the person from bleeding to death due to the lack of clotting factors in the blood.

    The pain from leukemia is from lack of oxygen to the cells because of inadequate oxygenation of the blood due to low red cell counts. It is like having a heart attack's pain all over the body. Unless the underlying condition is treated and improves with treatment, there is no way to stop the body from feeling the effects of low oxygenation.

    That's a brief summary of known events in leukemia.

    I sincerely doubt the physicians did anything wrong from the time your son arrived 'hours away from death'.

    It is not unusual for leukemia to be detected in young men for the first time in a crisis situation such as you described. Once at that stage, recovery is often not possible. Diagnosis and earlier treatment yeild the results that you found in your research.

    See a medmal attorney in your area for peace of mind and seek parental support from others whose children have leukemia or have died from leukemia.


    Last edited by ellencee; 11-01-2003 at 04:39 PM.
  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Your son's condition and death seem to match the information below. Therefore, the chance of a medmal claim or medical error that led to your son's death is very remote.

    Symptoms.—Acute Lymphatic Leukemia.—The onset is sudden and the course rapid, the disease terminating in a few days or weeks. The symptoms are those of an infectious disease, there being fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hemorrhages into the skin and mucous surfaces are characteristic, attended by anemia. The enlargement of the lymphatic glands is never so marked as in chronic lymphatic leukemia, in fact, may not be noticeable till near the close of the disease. As the disease progresses, it assumes a typhoid type, with delirium, coma, and finally death. A painful and somewhat characteristic symptom is severe ulceration of the mouth and gastro-intestinal tract. Acute nephritis is sometimes present.


    Last edited by ellencee; 11-03-2003 at 11:11 AM.
  7. #7
    monnickasmommy Guest
    I am sorry to hear about your loss of your son - My best friend died of Acute Lymphatic Leukemia in 93 and left 4 yound kids at that time all under the age of 8 .
    She had no Idea she had the Acute Lymphatic Leukemia until she got sick one day and they did a blood test on her next thing I heard she was transferd to another hospital - She spent 4 months on chemo and nothing helped- Did you son have chemo ?

  8. #8
    teribelle Guest
    Jack, Thanks for your advise and time. I appreciate it. I do have an appointment Monday. NC time lmt is 3 years. it has been 17 months since he passed away and 25+ months since his diagnosis.

    Mommy, Thank you also, and my thoughts are with you and your friend.

    Ellen, thank you for your advise and time, it is appreciated very much to have you all take the time. I know I didn't give the whole story, I have told it or written it so many times, but sometimes it's just too painful. I will try to go in a little more detail, now.

    I am very well aware that my son was not casually ill; he was very critically ill. And believe me, I know all there is to know about ALL. (ALL, b-cell, No Philadelphia or T-cells, and I was never told about the chromesome test, nor have I read it in his records.)
    He and I spent 9 months in a hospital room, very little did we get to go home. Even when we did go home, there were many office visits and outpatient.

    I know, after being diagnosed, he got top notch care. The Dr's and nurses saved his life that day he was brought in. I will always be indebted to them for GIVING us that 9 months.

    They never gave up, and in the end, when he had the DNR, they still tried that last 30 seconds his heart rate went to over 200. They were good to me and my family as well, especially the nurses. If one of those nurses needed a kidney, I'd give it to them in a heartbeat. We had their support and care when our family and friends 'quit coming'.

    I guess what I am not getting across, or maybe I am, is that he was NOT being treated for the ALL with the Lovenox and coumadin. With the leg pain, which, as you well know, is one of the 1st symptoms. My understanding of this type of medication, is that blood tests and platelet tests are reviewed very carefully beforehand and are checked every 3 days.....at least that is the protocal and warning from the drug co.

    I am not a medical prof, but I don't think you need to be one to know that wbc does not jump from 10,000 normal to 533,000 with 100% blast, or platelets from 500,000 to 50,000, or hemo from a normal 16 pints to less than 5 pints **************overnight.

    I realize it doesn't take long at all, I'm not under any illusions here and believe me, my motivation for this is not money. The last thing I want is to have an attorney and pour salt on my wounds. I am doing this for my son, who I believe had a chance. He was so upset that his pleas "help me, there is SOMETHING wrong" his nosebleeds, the fact that he couldn't get out of the bed, and was the color of milk, fell on deaf ears.

    If it makes no difference, why is the 1st thing you hear "EARLY DETECTION" or "TOO LATE" part of a discussion concerning cancer. I do know Leukemia's are not like most cancers, but why the chemo if there is not a chance.

    He did go into remission with the first chemo. He stayed in remission for 2 months. He was brought into remission again and stayed for another 2 months. We were at Duke having cord blood put on a plane for his transplant, when they discovered he was out of remission again. He was sent back to his reg Dr's and Hosp for another round. He did not achieve remission w/ it, and it was the last one. He did agree for an experimental treatment of chemo, he was a MAN of 19, I have never seen anyone that tough, brave, hopeful and determined in my life.

    I was the wimp, I cried when he made his decision, watching your child being tortured like that is absolutely the ultimate pain and heartbreak, it never goes away.
    I have not and cannot get out of my mind, him writhing in pain, veins so raw everything in the end had to go through his feet. I would sit up all night on his bed with him watching the clock and every 10 minutes and 30 seconds push the button on his morphine 'extra' drip, so that he might sleep more than 30 minutes at a time without waking up crying in pain.

    For a Mother, when I see my son in my mind, 1000 times a day, he is not in the backyard playing basketball with his brothers, or looking over my shoulder in the kitchen while I'm cooking "Looks good, Mom!" or hugging me and telling me he loves me.
    When I see Jimmy Lee, 99% of the time, it is laying sick in a hospital bed, hair coming off on his pillow, with that look of humble determination and fright, I see him comforting ME, telling me "Mom, I'm gonna make it, don't worry" while he is in between vomits.

    My point, he WENT for help, he begged for help, he begged for the 'dr' to put him in the hospital, starting 4 weeks before he was finally put in the hosp. This is not the same Dr that he had in the hospital.
    I will also add, after he was finally diagnosed, there was not another coumadin treatment, nor Lovenox. If it was the correct medication, why wouldn't it continue? He was never given it again.
    I have one more thing to tell about this, but I was saving it for after I heard your responses.
    Thanks so much for taking the time. I want you to know, I am not a lawsuit happy person, my son's death did not land me in Las Vegas for a roll of the dice at getting some $$$. No offence, but I have read over some of this site, looking for anyone in my situation and I was almost sick at some of the frivilous $hit I saw on here. No wonder legit cases are turned down by attorney's. No wonder the courts are so clogged up a legit case may never see the light of day. If I thought for one minute, that this 1st dr did his best, I wouldn't be here. If I thought for 1 minute, my son NEVER had a chance I wouldn't be here. And if I thought for one minute, that 1st dr made a human mistake and actually gave a $hit, I wouldn't be here.

    Let me tell you the last thing now**************Jimmy Lee was in county detention awaiting a hearing. His friend broke into a change machine while my son was washing his truck, there were cameras, and they got his license plates # and he was arrested for theft. Too ashamed to call his Mom, instead of having me pay bail, and getting him out, he was riding it out till he had a hearing. Nobody knew he was there.

    He was sick from almost the beginning and asked for help, denied. Finally begging for medical attention, denied. was treated w/ aspirin, occasionally. Finally taken to the hospital 10 days before being diagnosed. All the jail med staff would authorize for the hosp was a test for DVT. They found superfical, not DVT, gave him nothing and sent him back. 10 days later, he was dying. He had to vomit blood TWICE before being taken back to the hospital. He was immediatly, upon arrival, diagnosed.

    I am not of the belief that someone in jail deserves cable tv, or any home comfy's....it's jail. But our tax money pays for these correctional medical HMO's. They get a certain amount of money, no matter what. The thing is, the less they spend on an inmate, the more they line their pockets. The site administrator makes the decisions on whether an inmate get treatment. He is the same one who gets a nice little bonus for keeping costs down. These are not my opinions, there are facts. My son had not even had his fair day in court.

    CMS is the name of the HMO. And they have one heck of a track record for this type of deliberate indifference. Just this past June, a girl in Arizona died from the same thing my son died from. The same way almost. She had begged for medical attention and was bleeding from her ears......she was treated for allergies. She had a stroke and died 24 hours after finally being taken to the hospital. She was 25 yrs old. Her wbc was 300,000. (200,000 less than Jimmy's.)

    Alot of people don't think this can happen to them, but how many of our kids do stupid stuff and have to spend a night in jail. More than people admit to. What if this happened at a nursing home or mental hospital or the military.
    Sorry so long, but I warned you.

    Please, no negative opinions towards my child. Please do not respond if you are going to say 'he deserved what he got' just because he was in jail.
    Petty theft, as of yet, is not punishable with the death penalty. To be punished is to be put in jail, and not have 'privileges and luxuries' that's the punishment.

    The medical staff and jailers have no right to be judge, jury and executioner. Life and death medical treatment is not a luxury, we all have access to the hospital and treatment, with or without insurance. (medicaid, medicare) Granted, he needed medicaid to have the bone marrow, but not immediate medical attention.....already paid for by my our tax money.
    Thanks for your time,

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I am not going to give you false hope or give you information just to make you feel better. Others will, but I will not. I believe that you have suffered enough loss for one lifetime and you do not need to have to suffer needlessly by having your hopes falsely inflated or to re-live the loss of your son over and over in hopes of assigning blame to someone.

    First, after two years, you should have moved past the assigning blame aspect of the grieving process. If you are just now in this phase or have been in the phase for over a year, you must seek grief counseling for your own well-being and future. Certainly, you should not enter into any kind of legal action until you are further along in the grief process. You need to protect your own emotional and physical health.

    Jails are not required to provide medical care at the same level as the private sector. Leg pain can indicate anything and you will never prove it was a sign of acute lymphatic leukemia that should not have been overlooked.

    And, yes--WBCs and other parts of the blood cells can jump (overnight) to extraordinary amounts in certain conditions, not all of which are acute lymphatic leukemia.

    The one required element of a medmal claim that you will never prove is that your son would not have died from acute lymphatic leukemia if it had not been for the negligence of one or more medical professionals. I know of no medical expert or medical opinion anywhere that states that a person with acute lymphatic leukemia can avoid death from the disease and live a normal lifespan. I'm sure you were told from the onset that the chances of his death were almost 100% and the only hope he had was if it was chronic lymphatic leukemia and not acute; and even if chronic, the chances of his early death were still almost 100%.

    I encourage you to seek a free consultation with a medmal attorney in your area and receive advice on your concerns. I believe it is in your best interest to do so, not because I believe you have the potential for a meritorious medmal claim, but because I believe your ability to move forward in the grief process is contingent on receiving this legal advice.

    A medmal claim must meet 4 required elements and must have a medical expert's opinion that BUT FOR the act of negligence, the damage would not have occurred. The act must also have been forseeable. It is not reasonable to say that the medical staff at the jail should have forseen that the leg pain was acute lymphatic leukemia, or that any medical person should initially suspect leg pain is acute lymphatic leukemia. Even if you do have a valid area of something done below standard, it did not cause your son's death.

    Blaming someone else will not bring your son back and it will not save someone else's child from dying of the same illness whether diagnosed promptly or diagnosed later.

    I'm sure you feel that your son should not have died and that your feelings are justifiable in the unfairness of losing one's child to any cause. However, seeking to harm innocent persons or persons who gave their best to diagnose and treat your child is not fair, either.

    Now, if your son were the 16 year-old boy (in a NC jail) that became sick with nausea, cramps, a fever, and severe abdominal pain and was refused being taken for a medical exam (over 3 days time) and died from a ruptured appendix, I'd be in your corner 100% and do whatever I could to help you in your pursuit of a medmal claim. That is a medmal claim against the healthcare staff at the institution and a claim against the facility. Can you see the difference?

    My heart aches for you in the loss of your son and for you as you struggle to move on with your life without him. I wish only the best for you and yours.


    Last edited by ellencee; 11-02-2003 at 05:26 PM.
  10. #10
    teribelle Guest
    I will definitely take your words to heart. You know the thing is that NOBODY told me he would probably die. I asked for them to just give it to me straight, I have to deal that way. Maybe they just didn't want me to give up.

    I read all over, that it is curable.

    He actually was complaining of more than leg pain. He was asking for medical help for weeks. He had nosebleeds, swollen neck, sore chest. He was having breathing difficulty and he had lost 30 lbs in less than 4 weeks.

    He vomited blood 2 times in one evening. His gums were irritated and I think bleeding some. He had fevers and I swear to the heavens, when I went into his room hours after he was taken to hospital, I didn't even recognize him. Even if it was incurable, ignoring an obvious medical problem is wrong and wreckless.

    This also happened in NC. Where and when was the 16 yr old?
    That is just awful, too. There is such a thing as the 8th ammendment. One of the supreme court justices and Ben Franklin have commented on this. Lock a man up for punishment, (and my son was yet to be found guilty, in the eyes of the law, he was innocent until proven guilty)
    I mean even the Iraqi POW's, the taliban and al quada are, by OUR law, required medical attention and this is inforced by the red cross.

    I know what your saying, EC. I am at the blame stage. I was by his side for 9 months. I have greived and had my nervous breakdowns and vividly see him dying in a cell without the slightest enpathy of another human being.

    If you neglect your animals, you are charged with a crime and not allowed to own pets again.
    Take my word, those at the jail, didn't have the slightest care. Even the officer assigned in his room the first night suggested I look into a suit. That somebody needed to get those quacks out of there.
    Several years back a man had DT's and they didn't seek treatment for him. He died. His family had a case and sued. Perhaps you remember, Clarence Cousins.

    Jimmy actually died of infection, which is pretty normal. We have no idea if that last round of chemo would have put him into remission.
    I am going to see the attorney tomorrow and that's it. If I don't have a case, that's not really the point. SOMEBODY is going to explain to someone why my son just left to suffer.
    BTW, they had a lockdown for several days as he was bleeding, along with his other problems. He was crying and asked if they would please take him to a hospital and they said he'd have to wait till the lockdown was over...in a few days. Then they just took him to infirmary. Where he vomited blood......didn't take him....vomited again....waited then took him in a police car.

    Again, I so appreciate your taking the time, it means alot. If you wouldn't mind I'd like to know about that 16 yr boy, where when, ect.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I will email you the information on the 16year-old boy.

    You certainly added some important information in your last post; quite a bit more than leg pain. If all of those physical symptoms were present, reported, and ignored, then you may have some potential for a claim if it can be shown that earlier diagnosis and treatment would have helped your son. Regardless of whether or not it would have affected his prognosis, it does show a serious problem with the health program for the inmates.

    When you see the attorney, the attorney will probably be aware of the situation with the 16 year-old boy. There is a big 'to-do' going on over this. If it happens to be the same inmate health care provider, you may be able to benefit from the other case(s).

    If by some chance I am unable to email you; email me at [email]ellencee@earthlink.net[/email] and I will give you the information.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    teribelle, et al
    I am so into researching this now; I suppose I'd really like to find that this was avoidable. Anyway, just in case there is some reader that has a child with ALL, I wanted to say that children (under the age of 9 when diagnosed) do have the best chance of beating this disease if it is diagnosed early and if the child responds to chemotherapy by going into remission. Remission after the first chemotherapy regimen seems to have the best potential for 'cure'.
    Stem cell transplants, bone marrow transplants, chemo, and radiation do have some benefits for young children that are above and beyond what an older patient can expect.

    I have been focusing on ALL in adolescents and not on all age groups and did not want to close for tonight without making that clear.

    I imagine teribelle and I will continue this off-site and not tie up this site with non-legal issues.


  13. #13
    heartshapesoul Guest

    In reading what has happened to you in regards to your son, I just wanted to express my deepest sympathy's to you and your family. My heart goes out to you over what you have had to go through and over the loss of your very young teenage soon Jimmy Lee. He may not have survived even with the best medical treatment in the world, but your son most certainly deserved to be treated with far more dignity and respect than he was given while he was being held in jail awaiting his court date. A petty theft crime, in no way should be punishable by a young man suffering at the hands of this country's legal system! Best of luck to you in getting some vendication for the way your son was treated while in jail. Maybe this will give you some closure and if you are able to take this case to trial and have it shown just how wrong your son was actually treated , you may even be able to save the life of someone's else's child, all in loving memory of your son Jimmy Lee.
    Brightest Blessings To You & Your Family Teribelle.

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