Lawsuit claims misdiagnosis, unnecessary removal of organ and cover-up at KU Hospital

A whistleblower lawsuit filed July 1 by a physician from the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City alleges the chair of the hospital's pathology department misdiagnosed a patient with cancer and covered up the mistake for months after the patient had an essential organ surgically removed, according to KCUR.

Lowell Tilzer, MD, PhD, reportedly filed the suit after the hospital administrators failed to investigate the incident when he brought the matter to their attention. The lawsuit claims the pathology chair added fraudulent reports to the patient's files to conceal the error and instructed others to alter medical records. According to the suit, the unidentified patient may still be unaware of the error.

In a written statement provided to KCUR, the hospital said, "We are not in a position to provide detailed feedback at this time. However, just from a brief review of the allegations made, there is little to nothing in the petition that we believe to be grounded in truth. The patient to whom Dr. Tilzer's petition references was fully informed of the diagnosis and treatment plan after surgery and prior to leaving the hospital and is pleased with the care and clinical outcome."

In a phone interview with KCUR, Dr. Tilzer said Meenakshi Singh, MD, who has chaired the pathology department at KU Hospital since May 2015 when Dr. Tilzer stepped down from the position, was responsible for the error.

The lawsuit is filed under the Kansas Whistleblower statute and does not seek damages, but asks for protection from the court to prevent retaliation from KU Hospital and the termination of his employment.

"I'm not really afraid of being fired but I am afraid if the administration's attitude for helping cover up the misdiagnosis will affect other patients and hurt other people. It's that attitude they've got [that] I'm terribly concerned," Dr. Tilzer told KCUR.

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