Faulty Pregnancy Test Leads to False Positive – on Cancer

Your doctor may be skilled, but a faulty test could take your health out of his hands.

That’s what happened to Jennifer Rufer. After a faulty test misdiagnosed her with a rare form of cancer, Rufer suffered through months of chemotherapy, a hysterectomy and the removal of part of her lung, according to the Seattle PI.

Rufer was misdiagnosed with a gestational trophoblastic tumor, which, according to the National Cancer Institute, develops from cells that help an embryo attach to the uterus. A sign of a gestational trophoblastic tumor is elevated HCG levels – the same hormone that indicates pregnancy – when no pregnancy is present.

Rufer needlessly endured nearly two years of suffering, all because of a faulty product.

Years of Agony

Rufer thought she had suffered a miscarriage when she went to her doctor after bleeding, but Abbott Laboratories’ Axsym Beta-HCG pregnancy test showed she had elevated levels of the HCG hormone even though no fetus was found inside her uterus. Doctors immediately began chemotherapy and gave her the Abbott test a total of 40 times, all of which showed she continually had unusually high HCG levels. She underwent a hysterectomy. At one point, doctors found a dark spot on her lung and removed a portion of it. Eventually, Rufer’s doctors found the Abbott test was showing false positives.

Rufer will never be able to feel a baby’s kick as it grows inside her, but she was entitled to $15.5 million in compensation for her medical bills and the pain and suffering a faulty product caused her and her family.

Whom Do You Trust?

You trust your doctor to recognize problems and diagnose illnesses. Your doctor has to rely on companies that make good products. But when a company your doctor relies on puts concerns about market share over the responsibility to warn doctors about false positives, your life gets put at risk. A 2000 Mayo Clinic autopsy study found that in 26% of missed diagnoses, researchers indicated the correct diagnosis could have possibly prevented death.

Misdiagnoses in the U.S. are behind nearly 100,000 unnecessary deaths per year and more than 1 million preventable injuries. When cancer is misdiagnosed, your risk of death dramatically increases and your medical bills skyrocket. Treatments such as chemotherapy – a measure Rufer endured – can cause debilitating side effects and insurmountable medical expenses.

If you have been misdiagnosed with cancer, please contact our experienced cancer misdiagnosis team at The Oshman Firm immediately. We will give you a free no-obligation consultation to preserve your rights and ensure you get any monetary damages you deserve to overcome the financial and traumatic hardships of dealing with a false diagnosis.


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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