Sorry Works!

Sorry Works! Blog

Making Disclosure A Reality For Healthcare Organizations 

Doc Great After Cancer Misdiagnosis; Hospital Not So Much


Doc Great After Cancer Misdiagnosis; Hospital Not So Much

Retired North Carolina teacher Vickie Murphy had a painful patch of tissue in her lip, but neither her dentist nor primary care physician were worried.  However, Dr. Ewain Wilson of Wake Forest Baptist Health was concerned and had the tissue checked for cancer. A couple days later Dr. Wilson told Murphy the tissue was cancerous and scheduled her for surgery.  Except the tissue was not cancerous.  The hospital's lab has had a streak of cancer misdiagnoses and Murphy was one of them, but the problem was not detected before she had surgery. In fact, the hospital's lab is under fire from the Feds.  

Today, Murphy suffers pain and life-style changes due to the operation.  Moreover, the hospital stuck her with a bill for the unnecessary surgery that she and her husband are paying off a bit at a time. According to Murphy, Dr. Wilson has been great by continuing to care for her and help with the side effects, but the hospital not so much.  She has received a couple calls from the hospital, but no apology, no explanation of how they are going to fix the problem, and she is still stuck paying for a damaging surgery she didn't need!  Moreover, the hospital declined to discuss Murphy's case with a news reporter.

Looking at this situation, it appears Dr. Wilson has had some disclosure training.  Somebody taught Dr. Wilson to run to problems and be open to treating patients/families who experienced potential medical errors.  That's progress.  Unfortunately, the hospital's behavior shows the work that remains to be done with the disclosure movement.  Making this retired teacher pay for an un-needed operation that was caused by their lab's mistake -- gimme a break!!   No apology, no explanation -- gimme a break!!   The hospital looks clueless...

Hopefully this case is a wake-up call for Wake Forest leadership.  They need to develop a disclosure program to handle adverse events.  This story has exposed a major weakness in this hospital system.    

Sorry Works! is offering a free webinar on June 26th at 130pm ET/1030am PT.  This webinar will cover how to implement and sustain a successful disclosure program.  Hopefully the Wake Forest folks and many others can join us.  To register for the webinar, just respond to this e-mail. 


- Doug

Doug Wojcieszak, 618-559-8168


Doug Wojcieszak