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Woman Dies After Cancer Misdiagnosis Prompts Doctors to Remove Both Kidneys

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In March 2018, Linda Woolley was diagnosed with “likely” kidney cancer. Doctors removed both of her kidneys in May, causing her to need four-hour dialysis treatments three days a week in order to survive. However, a post-operative biopsy of the organs found no evidence of cancer, meaning her kidneys were removed needlessly.

Woolley, a 73-year-old grandmother from Englewood, Colorado, was placed on the transplant list after both of her kidneys were removed by doctors at University of Colorado Hospital. However, according to a report by the Daily Mail, she suffered a fatal heart attack on Friday, just eight months after her misdiagnosis led doctors to remove healthy organs.

The post-operative biopsy of Woolley’s kidneys found “no evidence of malignancy.” Even as doctors acknowledged their error, there wasn’t much that could be done beside proceed with dialysis treatments. Without at least one kidney, her body had no way of removing waste and excess water from the blood on its own, and her kidneys were no longer viable.

Woolley was stuck with thrice-weekly dialysis treatments, each one taking approximately four hours, throwing her life into chaos.

“I feel like they owe me a kidney, that’s for sure,” said Woolley after learning of the mistake last year. She also hired an attorney so that she could sue the hospital as she “was not real happy” when she found out what happened.

It is possible to survive solely on dialysis, but it is a challenging way to live.

“My life was totally changed,” said Woolley. “Dialysis is no picnic no matter how used to it you get; it robs you of your life.”

While Woolley was placed on the transplant list, the average wait for an organ usually falls between seven and 10 years.

Woolley didn’t survive the wait as she suffered a fatal cardiac arrest last week.