Hodgkin's Lymphoma Chest Tumor Diagnosed as Chicken Pox, Woman Says
By William Dotinga
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - Doctors at an Orange County, Calif. Kaiser Permanente hospital treated a woman for chicken pox before discovering she actually had Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to court documents.
Brandi Hewitt says she first visited the emergency room at Kaiser's Anaheim facility complaining of shortness of breath and a sore throat. Defendants Michael Moss MD and Vicki McAdams PA examined her and prescribed an inhaler, antibiotics, cough syrup and anti-inflammatory medication as treatment.
Hewitt says that when she returned six weeks later with the same symptoms plus itching and back pain, defendant doctors Timothy Ogawa and Lubavin Boris Vladimir ordered a CT lung and heart scan. The doctors noted a "slight shadow on the CT scan, diagnosed her with chicken pox and gave her the same medications as before.
Five weeks later, Hewitt says she again returned to the same emergency room with the same complaints. Defendant doctor Michael Lipton and defendant nurse practitioner Steven Giordano diagnosed her with chicken pox again and gave her pain medication, according to the complaint.
On April 3, 2011 - four months after she first appeared at Kaiser's emergency room - Hewitt says she visited a different hospital which, after it obtained the woman's records from Kaiser, informed her of a 30-square inch tumor in her chest and advised her to have her Kaiser doctors evaluate the mass. Frightened at the prospect of returning to Kaiser, Hewitt says she asked the new hospital to perform a biopsy on the tumor.
According to Hewitt, that hospital informed her she had Hodgkin's lymphoma on April 20, 2011. She has since undergone a year's worth of extensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She says she would not have had to endure such a long and extensive treatment if Kaiser doctors had correctly diagnosed her condition when she first appeared in their emergency room
In addition to medical malpractice, Hewitt also claims Kaiser intentionally concealed her condition. She seeks damages, medical expenses and loss of earnings as a result of the defendants' misdiagnoses.
Hewitt is represented by Desiree Telep and Tina Dao of Newport Beach, Calif.