Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Letter to Dana-Farber

This is the letter I sent to Dana-Farber following my missing PCR test from December.

Dear Dr. Weingart,

I am not sure if I should be sending this letter to you, so please feel free to pass it on to the appropriate person. I have been a patient at Dana-Farber four 4 years now. I have had an excellent experience being treated for CML. As part of my protocol, I have routine PCR blood tests every 3 months.

I came in yesterday for a checkup with my oncologist and to have a new PCR test completed. I was stunned to find out that my last test, which took place in December, was never completed. I had come in on a Saturday in December to have my blood drawn. Since it is hard for me to come during the week, I often go to the infusion room that is open on the weekend. After the blood was drawn, I did call my oncologist to check on the results. He reported undetectable findings which I was quite pleased about.

When I spoke with my oncologist yesterday at our meeting, I asked for a printout of the labs from December. He could not find any other tests for that date except for  a CBC. Under the PCR test, it said “Pending”. Upon further investigation from the oncologist and his nurse practitioner, the laboratory did not know what happened, but my blood and test results were not processed appropriately.

It is unclear to me who might be at fault for this error. It certainly could have been the nurse who took my blood or potentially the laboratory. Of course, my doctor should also have noticed that the information he provided me was inaccurate as well. Upon speaking to another CML patient who receives treatment at Dana-Farber, she reported that the same thing had happened to her.

I wanted to make someone aware of this issue in case this is a systemic or computer problem. Fortunately for me, my blood work has been excellent so I was not overly worried about my results. I would imagine, however, that if I were newly diagnosed, I would be extremely upset.

I appreciate your time.


Jon Gershon

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