Suzanne Somers, Actress
Suzanne Somers revealed that late last year (November 2009), six doctors told her that she had “full-body cancer” and that it was inoperable. This terrified the actress, who had had breast cancer back in 2001 and had undergone lumpectomy, radiation therapy and alternative treatments to cure it. It turned out that the “full body cancer” wasn’t true; there was nothing wrong with her.
As a result of that scare and her consultations with doctors about treating cancer, Somers has now written a book – “Knockout: Interviews with Doctors who are Curing Cancer and How to Prevent Getting it in the First Place” – that is causing controversy in the medical field.
Kylie Minogue, Singer
In 2005, a doctor gave singer Kylie Minogue the all clear after she went to see him and had a mammogram before going on her Showgirl concert tour. She was told that nothing was wrong, that she was perfectly healthy, and that she did not have breast cancer. It was a couple of weeks later, after she found a lump on her breast and consulted a different doctor, that she was told she did have breast cancer.
Minogue said: “I had just had a mammogram and they didn’t find anything and a couple of weeks later I found a lump. You must follow your intuition and if you have any doubt go back again.”
Mariana Bridi da Costa, Miss World Finalist
A Miss World finalist had to have her hands and feet amputated after doctors misdiagnosed her with kidney stones. Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa, 20, contracted an infection in 2009 that wasn’t kidney stones but a rare and deadly urinary disease caused by the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa. The infection rapidly spread to her blood and caused septicaemia in her limbs, cutting off circulation and necessitating amputation. Doctors had to remove part of her stomach and both kidneys as well. Bridi eventually died, one month after the amputation. At the time of her death the beauty queen was in talks with several big modelling agencies who were interested in signing her.
A doctor who published an article on the disease in The New England Journal of Medicine has said that very little is known about pseudomonas aeruginosa, but that it ranks number ten in among the leading causes of death in the United States.
Bob Barker, celebrity host
Bob Barker, host of the game show The Price Is Right for 35 years, was initially diagnosed with exhaustion but later on found to have a blocked artery that was impeding the flow of blood to his brain. He underwent carotid surgery which went so well he was able to return to work within the month.
Bailey, son of Scott Baio, actor
One day after actor Scott Baio and his wife Renee Sloan brought their baby Bailey de Luca home from the hospital, they were informed by doctors that their baby was found to be positive for GA-1 or Glutaric acidemia, type 1, a rare metabolic disorder that could be potentially fatal. The disease, which is a rare inherited condition, is characterized by the body’s inability to break down proteins properly. This results in the buildup of harmful substances in the body could cause damage to the brain, seizures, mental retardation, and even death. The disease occurs in 1 out of every 30,000 to 40,000 people.
After ten weeks of testing, doctors finally pronounced that the initial test had given a false positive and that baby Bailey was in fact completely healthy. Scott and Renee Baio have since established a foundation that aims to propagate awareness of the importance of expanded newborn screening and help raise funds to support children and families affected with organic acidemia metabolic disorders.
Kerry Katona, singer
Former Atomic Kitten warbler and reality star Kerry Katana was told in 2007 that she had suffered a miscarriage while carrying her fourth child. The singer had experienced some bleeding and had rushed to the hospital. After going back to the hospital for further examination, it was found that she was still pregnant and the baby’s heart was still beating. Doctors attributed the mistake to Kerry’s bleeding and being only five weeks and not seven to eight weeks pregnant.
Jade Goody, British reality star
Jade Goody, who starred in the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother show, was told that she was just having period pains and was given pain killers for it. It turned out that she had cervical cancer and she was told while on location in India to film the Indian version of the reality show, Big Boss 2, that the cancer had spread.
Goody had been to see doctors four years before for bleeding and feeling unwell, and said that even back then several doctors had misdiagnosed her illness as caused by slimming pills and laxatives. The actress was correctly diagnosed by and was under the care of the doctors at Marsden, who couldn’t comprehend how the tumor could have been missed by those doctors. Jade died on Mother’s Day in 2009, losing a battle that could have been won had she been diagnosed correctly four years ago.
Estelle Getty, actress
Estelle Getty was an actress, appearing in the movies Tootsie (1982) and Mask (1985). She played Sophie Petrillo in the comedy series The Golden Girls (1985). Estelle was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in the mid 1990s. Years later she was misdiagnosed again, this time with Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually, years later, the correct diagnosis was given – Lewy Body Dementia, a disease with similar symptoms to both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Getty passed away in 2008.
Celine Dion, singer
Celine Dion, who has been undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) in an attempt to get pregnant, was diagnosed by her doctors that she was pregnant with her second child, according to her husband Rene Angelil. Days later, however, the doctors took the pronouncement back, saying that the embryos transferred were not successful. The couple’s first son Rene-Charles, now 8 years old, was conceived with the help of IVF after six years of trying, and Celine had had her embryos frozen in liquid nitrogen for future attempts.
Fran Drescher, actress
For two years, Fran Drescher was misdiagnosed by seven different doctors and given the same pronouncement – that she didn’t have cancer and it was probably perimenopause. This in spite of her suffering continuous bleeding in between periods which, to her, seemed like a case of classic uterine cancer. She was given different treatments, none of which worked. She was finally correctly diagnosed with Stage 1 uterine cancer after the eighth doctor performed a D&C and biopsy. Fran underwent radical hysterectomy and considers herself lucky that she was diagnosed correctly in the early stage of the disease.
Mother of Yasmeen Bleeth, actress
Yasmeen Bleeth, model turned actress who gained worldwide fame for her appearance in the television series Baywatch, did not have cancer but her mother did. In fact, her mother’s cancer was initially misdiagnosed by a doctor as signs of early menopause.
Today Yasmin is a spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
John Ritter, actor
John Ritter’s death in 2003 took the world and his fans by surprise. What was even more shocking was the family’s allegation that he had been misdiagnosed by the doctors at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, where he was brought for treatment. The doctors had diagnosed his condition as a heart attack and failed to see his aortic dissection and provide proper treatment for his torn aorta, which eventually led to his death. The family settled with the hospital out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Julie Andrews, singer/actress
Even wonder why the great Julie Andrews – well known for her singing in the movie classics My Fair Lady, Camelot, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins – stopped singing? Blame it on misdiagnosis, again. The singer, who is one of the very few in the world with an incredible vocal range of four octaves, underwent surgery to remove some non-cancerous nodules on her left throat in 1997. The surgeon operated on both sides of her vocal cords when there was no reason to operate on the right side. The surgery caused the end of her singing career. Julie sued and the doctor settled in 2000.
Nicole De Huff, actress
Nicole, who was part of the comedy series Meet The Parents, died after being misdiagnosed twice by two different medics. Famous for being smashed in the face with a volleyball spiked by Ben Stiller in the comedy, Nicole went to two different hospitals for two days complaining of a cold and difficulty breathing, but was sent home and told to take Tylenol. She was taken to the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center after collapsing at home, where she was correctly diagnosed with an aggressive form of pneumonia that leads to staph infection and cardiac arrest. She died the next day.
Halle Berry, actress
Actress Halle Berry was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes by doctors in 1989. In 2005, Berry claimed that she had weaned herself off insulin and would now like to place herself in the Type 2 category. Medical specialists have taken to the media bashing Berry for this, because they say that first, Type 1 diabetes is incurable; second, if she were really a Type 1, stopping the insulin would be tantamount to suicide; and three, she is probably either confused, misdiagnosed, or has been a Type 2 all along.
Jenny McCarthy, actress
Actress and model Jenny McCarthy’s son Evan was two years old when she found him foaming in the mouth and his eyes rolling back as he lay in his crib. She rushed him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with epilepsy and given seizure medication. The medicine’s effect on her son worried her – he would hallucinate, bang his head against the wall, and didn’t recognize her. To find out what kind of effect the medicine had, she tried drinking it and felt, in her own words, like Ozzy Osbourne – off balance, drooling, her speech slurring. A Los Angeles neurologist afterwards diagnosed Evan of autism and took him off the seizure medicine. McCarthy has since claimed that she has been able to heal her son from autism by changing his diet. Doctors, on the other hand, say that McCarthy’s son was probably misdiagnosed from the start and that his symptoms are more consistent with a rare disorder, Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, than autism.
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