Laura Moser’s father died after a misinterpreted CT scan missed his cancer, and now the Fraser Valley woman is terrified over what her own scan might have missed.
She was living in Powell River, caring for her sick father John Moser.
She said he was in pain and had no appetite. He went from being a 6’4″, 240-pound man down to an emaciated 100 pounds. But after a CT scan his physician insisted he did not have cancer. On Dec. 21, 2010, she said hospital staff were ready to discharge him. Two days later they found cancer. Doctors said he was riddled with it, in his lungs, liver, ribs and skull, and gave him less than two months to live. On Christmas morning he suffered a stroke, and on Jan. 5 he passed away. He was 76.
Because the first CT scan was misread, doctors were looking for some other source of his pain, and Laura watched her father suffer, and “beg for help.”
“The whole family is really struggling,” she said. I want answers.”
The B.C. health ministry has announced three radiologists misinterpreted the results of CT scans performed in Powell River, Abbotsford and Comox. In the Abbotsford case, an inexperienced radiologist did vacation relief between mid-August and mid-September. In that time he performed 170 scans, and 10 of those were flagged by the ministry as misinterpreted. One of those patients has since died, and the case in under investigation.
Officials with the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health authorities are notifying 3,400 patients of potential misinterpretation of CT scans.
Laura was one of those notified in a letter from Coastal Health, on Feb. 15th, saying she may have been misdiagnosed. She has since had more imaging done in Abbotsford.
“I’m terrified,” she said. “I had another scan, but I won’t be able to get the results for three weeks to a month.”
She said the two scans have to be compared, which is part of the reason for the delay.
She got the original CT scan in Powell River on Aug. 11, the day after her father’s scan, because of chronic pain in her back. In 2006 she had disc surgery on her back, but during the summer she noticed that she was not only in pain, but losing some sensation in her back and groin, and had numbness down her leg.
The CT scan did not reveal any problems, and she was diagnosed as being depressed over her father’s illness, and not coping with pain. She was sent to a pain specialist, and put on drugs, which she didn’t want, since they made her sick.
She is worried in particular about the numbness in her leg. Being diabetic, with poor circulation, problems with extremities can result in the loss of limbs.
Moser said she is frustrated that Vancouver Coastal Health’s letter refers her to a patient care quality office, but she can’t get through on the phone number listed.
“I’m living in constant pain,” she said.
She struggles with basic household chores, having a shower, or carrying groceries.
What’s more, because of her personal circumstances, she has not properly grieved her father’s passing, she said.
“I haven’t even started to cope with it, and I wholeheartedly believe my father did not have to die.”
“I’m really angry at being left like this.”
She wants to keep this issue in the media.
“I pray it stays public. I want something done. There are people who have been misdiagnosed.”