In a nation where a potentially life-threatening blood clot can be discovered in the brain of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and effectively treated within weeks, a single New York mother was allowed to walk into an emergency room with chest pains in 2010, and walk out without being informed that a potentially cancerous nodule was discovered until 2012 — when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and given 6 months to live.
And what did the doctors do when they told her?
They gave her an apology and a hug.
In February of 2010, Laverne Wilkinson experienced sudden chest pain and rushed to the emergency room at Kings County Hospital, afraid that she was having a heart attack.
She had an EKG and a chest x-ray, was told everything was fine and to follow up if she experienced any further symptoms. Unbeknownst to her, the radiologist discovered a nodule 2 centimeters in diameter, but she was released without being told to follow-up with a doctor.
For two years Wilkinson found herself on a merry-go-round of treatments for asthma, including cough medication and steroids. In the spring of 2012, she returned to the emergency room wheezing and short of breath. The new X-ray determined that the nodule had more than doubled in size and spread to her left lung.