Health Ministry to launch probe into ‘accidental chemo’

Health Ministry to launch probe into ‘accidental chemo’

Doctors mistakenly believed Anna Shibot had lymphoma, turns out they were wrong

Anna Shibot, 5, underwent a month of needless chemotherapy treatments (image capture, Channel 2 News)
Anna Shibot, 5, underwent a month of needless chemotherapy treatments (image capture, Channel 2 News)

The Health Ministry announced Thursday that it will launched a probe into the accidental chemotherapy treatment of a 5-year-old who was mistakenly diagnosed with cancer.

Anna Shibot underwent a month of taxing chemotherapy treatments after doctors suspected that she was suffering from a cancerous tumor in her throat, only to discover that the girl never had cancer to begin with and that the invasive treatments were performed unnecessarily.

Anna’s mother, Faina, is planning to sue the hospital where her daughter was treated for medical malpractice. She told Maariv: “The doctor at the hospital told us: ‘those treatments were to be on the safe side’… I want to see if those doctors would send their children to chemotherapy treatments to be ‘on the safe side.'”

Anna had suffered from swelling in her neck that refused to subside, and her mother brought her to the emergency room at Wolfson hospital to seek treatment. Doctors feared a cancerous tumor and sent her for a biopsy. Although there were no conclusive results, Anna was referred to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where physicians recommended a course of emergency chemotherapy immediately upon the child’s arrival.

The treatments caused Anna to lose her hair, lose significant amounts of weight and suffer severe eating disorders. Because of her appearance, Anna’s mother was afraid to send her daughter to kindergarten, preferring to keep her at home.

However, after Anna had already undergone the treatment, her mother was informed that her daughter never had cancer to begin with but rather a routine infection.

Sheba officials said that there was no medical malpractice because in  Anna’s case, lymphoma, a particularly severe and fast-spreading form of cancer, was suspected. Physicians who opted to begin the chemotherapy before they received the biopsy results were acting in Anna’s best interests, the hospital said.

Professor Amos Toran, the head of the Department of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology at the Sheba Medical Center, told Walla News: “In this case, there was a clear written diagnosis of a dangerous cancer from a well-known hospital, and therefore, we did not want to wait to begin treatment.”

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