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xx Cancer patient trapped in CT machine
« Thread started on: Sep 30th, 2007, 12:53am »

Cancer patient trapped in CT machine
Forgotten woman alone for 5 hours, then freed herself
By Alexis Huicochea and Carla McClain
ARizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.28.2007
advertisementAfter being diagnosed with bone cancer, 67-year-old Elvira Tellez of Tucson was understandably stressed.
But that stress quickly elevated to panic last week when she went for a CT scan and was left in the machine for five hours after a technician forgot about her.
Tellez eventually freed herself from the scanner but found the medical office closed for the night with her locked inside. She called her son and then dialed 911. Sheriff's deputies had her unlock the front door.
For the last week, Tellez has had trouble sleeping and when she does sleep she wakes up crying. She said she is still shaken by the ordeal, which occurred Sept. 19 at Arizona Oncology Associates, 2070 W. Rudasill Road.
Tellez and her family say what they want now is an explanation, something they have yet to receive.
"I don't know what to think," Tellez said in Spanish. "I think and think and think, but I can't understand it."
Office managers for Arizona Oncology did not return phone calls Thursday, but one physician said it's not the first time this has happened.
"People have been left in the office after hours, when something like that happens it's the same sort of thing," said Dr. Steven Ketchel, who works there and heard about the incident. "My guess is she was lying on the table, waiting and waiting and nobody told her she could go home."
But it is not that simple for Tellez family members who voiced concerns about what could have happened while she was trapped in the machine.
"She almost lost it while she was in there," said Tellez's son, Ariel Tellez. "She has diabetes and she could have had a heart attack."
Routine procedure went awry
It was supposed to be a fairly routine procedure, Ariel Tellez said of the scan.
His mother had been recently diagnosed with cancer and her doctor referred her to Arizona Oncology, where it would be determined if the cancer had spread.
She was injected with a dye and was told to wait about 45 minutes, Ariel Tellez said. At about 4 p.m., Elvira Tellez was taken in for the scan, which she was told would last about 25 minutes and that she could then drive herself home.
She was placed inside the large machine, which scanned her body from the waist up. The lower half of her body was wrapped in what she described as a heavy blanket.
The technician told Tellez not to move during the scan and proceeded to turn off the room lights to help her relax, her son said.
"At some point, my mom lost track of time and felt like too much time had passed, but she couldn't look at a clock or anything because it was dark," Ariel Tellez said.
When Elvira Tellez came to the conclusion that 25 minutes had definitely gone by, she called out to get someone to help her out of the machine. She got no response.
Soon enough, fear overwhelmed Tellez and she began screaming but still got no response because the office had closed and everyone had left for the night.
"I was going crazy and I was crying to God to get me out," Tellez said on Thursday. "I was thirsty, I needed to go to the bathroom and I was really scared."
After hours of working to free her legs from the heavy blanket, Tellez slid out of the machine and nearly fell on the floor but managed to grab a table, she said.
When she walked out of the room she found the office was dark and she was the only person there.
At about 9 p.m., she hysterically called Ariel, who lives in California. He told her to call 911 and at the same time he managed to contact the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies arrived and had her unlock the office door to let them in, said Deputy Dawn Hanke, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. The deputies contacted the office manager, who was not aware of the situation.
Tellez was taken to a hospital where she was checked over and finally released around 1 a.m., Ariel Tellez said.
The following day, the technician who left Tellez in the machine called to apologize. At that time Tellez asked for a written explanation of what occurred, she said. She has yet to receive anything.
Radiation fears arise
Another concern is whether Tellez received a large amount radiation over the five-hour period, Ariel Tellez said.
Tellez's doctor said that was unlikely because many machines are on automatic timers.
Dr. Ketchel also confirmed there is an automatic shut-off on the machine, but Tellez said she heard noise coming from the scanner the whole time she was inside.
As her cancer treatment progresses, Tellez will have to undergo the same procedure again to determine if the cancer is spreading. But she refuses to go back to that office. Her doctor has promised she will not be sent there again.
Arizona Oncology Associates is one of the top cancer doctor groups in Tucson. It has four offices in Tucson and one each in Green Valley and Oro Valley. There are 30 physicians, which include hematologist/oncologists, radiation oncologists, gynecologic oncologists and blood and bone-marrow stem-cell doctors.
Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at 629-9412 or ahuicochea@azstarnet.com.
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xx Re: Cancer patient trapped in CT machine
« Reply #1 on: Sep 30th, 2007, 2:57pm »

If I have offended anyone or added to anyone's fears with this post I apologize but this is my reason for posting this story....

I am claustrophobic too and thought about this when I posted this story, but felt it needed to be posted...sorry. I think the title of the thread provides insight into the content....I did not intend to add to your fears. Thousands of people read and post to the BrainTalk Communities board and if I can prevent any one from using this facility than I have passed along good information. I think if you reread the story you will find that this particular facility is a repeat offender. In other words, this is not the first time this has happened at this facility. I read the story and posted it to my own board to educate others and took it from another discussion board. Unfortunately, these things do happen. We have had other horror stories on BrainTalk as well about the machines. If you are afraid of the machine try light sedation or make certain there is a loved one there with you to make certain you come out in a timely fashion.
« Last Edit: Sep 30th, 2007, 4:42pm by admin » User IP Logged

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