Cherokee County Woman Files Lawsuit Over Negligence

Wednesday, September 13th 2006, 10:07 am
By: News On 6

Here is the bad news, your doctor says you have cancer. Here is the good news, you actually don't.

A Cherokee County woman claims her doctor misdiagnosed her with terminal cancer. She says she found out she didn't have cancer, only after months in hospice care.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says Susan Rotramel is alive and apparently well - which is much more than she expected. She says her doctor told her she was dying of cancer. "I mostly just stayed in bed, just laid there and waited to die, I didn't do nothing, just stayed home and laid in bed."

Rotramel says she was under the care of Dr. Lawrence Green at his medical clinic in Tahlequah. She says after having breast cancer years before, she had always worried about it coming back, but she shocked to be told she only had 6 months to live. "I thought I was just going to die, that the cancer had come back and that I was going to die."

Rotramel says she was referred to Shepherds Care Hospice in Wagoner and put on morphine, even though she really wasn't in pain. She says after three months - a doctor from hospice examined her - and couldn't find any sign of cancer. "I'm glad I didn't take my first idea and end my life, I'm really glad for that. I think about it a lot, it was very depressing and to think I could have ended my life because of someone else's mistake."

Now Rotramel has an attorney and she's suing the doctor for the diagnosis and the hospice for treating her without verifying what she had. Rotramel’s attorney Larry Oliver: "I'm not really sure what's happened, but I know they shouldn't be doing these things, you don't put people in the care of hospice, unless death was imminent."

The hospice had no comment on the lawsuit and the doctor didn't return our call.

Rotramel says she never asked for a second opinion, and never even asked what kind of cancer she had. She says she believed her doctor - even to the point of assuming she was dying - when even she admits she had no symptoms.