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Indian American pathologist Dr. Meenakshi Singh is facing a lawsuit by a Kansas-based woman who has alleged that she was wrongly diagnosed with having a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour, which resulted in unnecessary removal of parts of her organs. The doctors then tried to cover up the incorrect diagnosis, the lawsuit adds.
The complainant, Wendy Ann Noon Berner, has accused the University of Kansas Hospital and Singh, the former chairwoman of the pathology department, of fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy, KCUR reported.
Berner was allegedly misdiagnosed as having a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, following which she underwent a surgery to remove a part of the pancreas and several other internal organs in September 2015, since the condition is believed to be fatal within five years in most cases. The 46-year-old resident of Shawnee says she got to know of the issue only when another pathologist, Dr. Lowell Tilzer, filed a case against the hospital over a year ago, claiming that he was targeted when he discussed the case with the Joint Commission that accredits and certifies hospitals. Tilzer later dropped the case.
The misdiagnosis, according to the lawsuit, came to light when other doctors of the pathology department studied tissue samples from her pancreas after the surgery and found that the organ was not cancerous. The same conclusion was reached by an outside pathologist, it said.
Berner’s lawsuit, which was filed on August 1 in Wyandotte County District Court, names Singh and Dr. Timothy M. Schmitt, who performed her surgery, as defendants, along with the hospital, the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Kansas Physicians.
Hospital spokesman Dennis McCulloch said in a statement that the health of its patients remains its top priority. “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,” read the statement. “That said, we do believe that our physicians and staff acted appropriately and with the best interests of our patient in mind.”