Doctors Insist Woman With 24-Pound Tumor Is Just Pregnant

In a story that seems like the exact opposite of those shows where women don’t think they’re pregnant and yet, oops, out comes a baby, a woman in Barcelona was pretty darn sure she wasn’t pregnant, and yet doctors insisted she was. Really, she had a 24-pound cancerous uterine tumor.

United Press International says the woman claims that she was “treated with contempt” while at a hospital emergency room complaining of excruciating abdominal pain. She’s alleging that doctors joked, “Haven’t you ever heard of contraception?” and said her pain was due to a panic attack.

She then had two negative pregnancy tests as they insisted she was pregnant. She later returned to the hospital and told doctors to take another look, as the whole late-term pregnancy diagnosis didn’t seem to be panning out.

During an ultrasound, she says the doctor finally said, “Gosh, what a huge cyst.” Yes, cyst, not a baby — go figure. The woman is going through chemotherapy now and has opened a case with the patients’ ombudsman in Spain.

24-pound tumor misdagnosed as pregnancy [United Press International]


Edit Your Comment

  1. techstar25 says:

    ¬°Ay, caramba!

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Just think of the firestorm from certain…um…political and…er…religious people if that happened in this country.

      “Nono it’s not cancer…it’s a BABY you murderer!!!”

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        The cancer is a living human cell, and it has a right to life. You can have it removed, but first you need to go through a waiting period, ultrasound, a consultation with a doctor where the doctor describes your cancer in detail in an effort to shame you into leaving it in, and a series of counseling sessions where your cancer’s fantasy future is described to you so that you feel guilty about having it removed.

        It’s how responsible medicine is done.

  2. dolemite says:

    I’m sure there is a joke in there about Republicans denying her contraception then having the state rape her with a wand to prove she wasn’t pregnant due to the giant cyst that ballooned up due to …Republicans denying her birth control pill insurance coverage (which are used to treat/prevent cysts). If this was in the US.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I wonder what Republicans are called in Spain….

    • hmburgers says:

      Or…. you know…. we could look at the fact that Spain has a universal national health care system, i.e. just like the Democrats would like to have in the US, and in typical fashion it completely failed to provide good health care or service.

      So perhaps in this case those “motherfucker” Republican’s and their–let’s keep health care and insurance the way it is–would probably have resulted in a quick diagnosis and immediate, non-newsworthy, care.

      • Blitzgal says:

        We have our own “oops, doctors amputated the wrong foot” stories in the US, too.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Typical fashion? Please do share the apparently numerous failures of national health care, country by country.

        • StarKillerX says:

          Your overlooking the point of the post by hmburgers, he/she was simply pointing out that dolemite was using a medical mistake in a country with socialized medicine as justifcation for bashing republicans for opposing socialized medicine.

          • crispyduck13 says:

            Dolemite said absolutely nothing about socialized medicine. He/she was making a point about American republicans current assault on women’s healthcare. Hmburgers brought up national healthcare all by his/her lonesome.

            But keep fuckin that chicken.

            • Stickdude says:

              He/she was making a point about American republicans current assault on women’s healthcare.

              And what was that point, exactly?

              This misdiagnosis had as much to do with the so-called assault on women’s healthcare as it did with Spain’s nationalized healthcare system.

              Which is to say, absolutely none.

              • StarKillerX says:


                The first post in this chain reminds me of the comment section on CNN/Fox where any story is any excuse to bash those who disagree with them politically, even if the story was in no way connected to politics.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        Your naivete is absolutely adorable! :)

      • Cat says:

        Unless, of course, it was a middle class woman with a job and no health insurance.

        Then she would have waited longer before going to the emergency room, and died in the waiting room before ever getting to see a doctor.

        Which is a better outcome, of course.

      • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

        Guess what, my paid for UH-Merican healthcare effs up just as well. I’m currently fighting a collections issue because Provider A forgot to file a claim that would have adjusted Provider B’s billing for the full amount of my deductible.

        Oh, and there was the little matter of a blood test showing my wife was not pregnant before getting a CT scans while also being on medication that you SHOULD NOT take while pregnant and yet she was.

        Go on believing that crap about Democrats and Liberals and the evils of Obamacare.

  3. nbs2 says:

    I don’t know how the Spanish medical and legal systems are set up, but if this had be the US, I’d expect to see a huge payout from both the doctors and the hospital. And frankly, I’d consider it justified.

    • kc-guy says:


    • StarKillerX says:

      Possibly, the story doesn’t give a timeframe and without that I can’t really judge if she deserves even a small payout, not to mention a huge one.

      I mean if she returned later the same day, or even within a couple days, I don’t see cause for a huge payout.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Are you fucking kidding me? Any doctor who can’t perform a simple pregnancy test during a visit or identify that a presumed pregnant woman in excruciating pain is likely heading for premature labor or some other serious complication should never practice medicine again.

        Since you’re so confident that the doctors here did an acceptable job for this woman I’d like to know when you’re scheduling your next appointment with him/her/them.

        • StarKillerX says:

          I try not to have knee jerk reactions, especially with very scant information.

          I’m sorry but four short paragraphs, all taken from from the women’s statement, does not put me into instant lynchmob mode.

          • crispyduck13 says:

            As a woman who was slutshamed at 2 different hospitals in the same day for seeking the morning after pill to deal with a condom malfunction I find it hard to believe that you find it hard to believe that this shit happens in real life. Everyday. Everywhere.

            Ignorance is no excuse for stupid statements.

            • StarKillerX says:

              Wow, how sad that you obviously get so worked up over a story, and incomplete one at that, on the net.

              Sorry that you had a bad experience, but guess what, your experience is simply your experience and does not mean a story is true or not.

              How often cases like this one described occur is meaningless to if this story is accurate or not.

              If you get so worked up that you have to take jabs at people who don’t agree with you maybe you should take some time off the internet.

      • nbs2 says:

        Comically enough, if you go to the UPI article, the related story about the Scottish girl whose tumor was mistaken for a pregnancy is an example of how to get things right.

        Woman comes to hospital presenting with symptoms that suggest possible pregnancy.
        Diagnose as possible complications of pregnancy, order confirmation of pregnancy.
        Determine that patient is not pregnant, realize that initial diagnosis was incorrect, order necessary scans to identify lump (because, let’s be honest, you are going to feel a 24# lump when you check the abdomen)
        Determine that lump may be tumor, order biopsy to determine malignancy.

        It isn’t rocket science. And clearly it isn’t the hardest part of practicing medicine since I don’t have an MD and can still suggest a reasonable sequence of events.

  4. missy070203 says:

    note to self never go to hospital with abdominal pain in Spain……

  5. Cat says:

    “It’s Not a Tooma!”

  6. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Maybe they’re adopting the Dr House principle:

    Tumor = growth
    Baby = growth

    Therefore… ?

    Oh, the irony.

  7. crispyduck13 says:

    Even if she was pregnant, how could any doctor send an obviously almost full term pregnant woman away who is complaining of severe abdominal pain?? The likelihood that she was having complications is so strong, I can’t believe they would tell her it was a “panic attack” if they were standing behind their initial “pregnant” diagnosis.

    The article is not clear on this, but why on earth did this woman have to leave the hospital to have a simple pregnancy test? I hope she gets the license of every medical professional involved in this disgusting display revoked permanently. I’m not usually in favor of malpractice suits, but this is so much fail on multiple levels that they all deserve the worst possible punishment.

    • Darsynia says:

      Well, speaking as someone currently 37 weeks pregnant–if I took a pregnancy test today, it would likely come up negative, afaik. I think the stuff that those early tests look for (as opposed to the blood tests the hospital should have done) isn’t that prevalent in a woman’s urine once they’re more than 16 weeks along.

      Most likely they determined that she was nearly full term, but not yet, so ‘clearly’ she WAS pregnant, but equally ‘clearly’ not in labor, so send her home! They’re pretty strict in hospitals about how much in labor you’re meant to be before you can be admitted, and so many women think they’re in labor that they’re used to dismissing them as silly first timers who don’t know anything. Sad, but true :(

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I was talking about a blood test, didn’t think ER’s used the pee-on-a-stick method.
        Then again, I’ve never been tested for pregnancy at a hospital so I wouldn’t know the procedure. I assumed they used the most accurate method, and would know that fact about late term pregnancies not working with the stick tests.

        There I go again expecting the best from people…

        • The_IT_Crone says:

          Every time I’ve had to have a surgical or other procedure that would end a pregnancy, they’ve done the pee-in-a-cup method. Even though if I WAS pregnant, I’d be perfectly happy with THAT side-effect. I’m in the US.

          • Firethorn says:

            Well, given that you mention ‘pee in a cup’, it’s still quite possible that a hospital would use a different testing method than is possible/practical with the sticks. More sensitive test strips, chemical test drops, etc…

            I’d like to echo the others here. I had an associate come up ‘unexpectedly late term pregnant'(yes, she’s obese). If you go in that way, here in the states she got lectured on not coming in for pre-natal care and they immediately wanted to do a whole raft of tests to check on the baby.

            One of the first of which would be an ultrasound that would figure out that it’s not a baby, even if the doctors aren’t trusting the chemical test for some reason.

        • RedOryx says:

          I had to do a pregnancy test at the ER and they did the pee test.

        • red says:

          Hormone level drop is the same as the blood tests. Once the pregnancy is past the first couple weeks the most accurate way to monitor is ultrasound.

          ER usually uses urine over serum. Urine is fast, cheap, non-invasive, and as accurate as it needs to be. Serum is the opposite.

      • JonBoy470 says:

        This… Pregnancy tests (both blood and urine) test for the presence of the hormone HCG. Which naturally declines in late pregnancy to the point that if you administer a pregnancy test to a woman in her third trimester, it will most likely come back negative. Of course, a woman in her third trimester generally already knows she’s pregnant. At least, that’s the theory…

  8. Cat says:

    See, this is what happens when you have socialized healthcare.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      Women who seek medical attention in the US-style system are never dismissed by doctors who don’t take them seriously or have serious illnesses overlooked! Right?

      • Draw2much says:

        Perhaps what it proves is that both systems have flaws, and those flaws can kill? It seems to me you’re just trading one kind of flaw for another no matter what system you pick.

        • Firethorn says:

          It depends on the total quantity and severity of the flaws though.

          In general, European healthcare is capable of covering people better at half the cost, leading to longer lifespans. That the occasional horror story happens is to be expected anywhere.

          • Kuri says:

            The bigger problem being we rarely hear the good news, so people make up worse horror stories of things like people bleeding out in the waiting room.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        yeah, 5 doctors sent me away with different diagnoses or “it’s just your MS” before i was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the ER. none of the other doctors tested because i had symptoms that could have been other things and hey, if i already HAVE a chronic illness, it must all be related to that, right?

    • MichaelRyanSD says:

      No, I think what Cat is saying is had she been in the US, she could have gone to as many doctors as she likes to get different opinions. Not saying the doctors weren’t grossly negligent here, but medical practice isn’t an exact science as much as people would like it to be.

      Maybe in Spain since it is socialized, they are entitled to free health care, but once you go in for something, what they tell you is what they tell you and thats it

      • Cat says:

        Wrong answer, but thanks for playing.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          Yeah not sure where his ‘clarification’ of your post came from.

          “Hey look at this piece of red string here.”
          “That red string is not so innocent. What you mean is that red string killed my father and raped my mother.”

          Or something like that.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Yeah, the same thing would have happened in the US, but she’d have gotten a bill for $20,000 afterwards.

      • Theoncomingstorm says:

        What do people have against having to pay for services they have used? I just don’t get it. If you want socialised medicine, move to a country where it’s already in practise, don’t make me pay for your medical care!

        • LanMan04 says:

          Because EVERYONE needs medical care. And by the way, you’re paying more NOW than you would in increased taxes under a socialized system (through your insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs)

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Not sure if you are sarcastic or what but the US isn’t that great. I work with people with disabilities. We’ve had to fight to get ERs to treat our individuals because they may be having “behaviors.” We tell the hospital we won’t leave until the person is seen. The latest one was a person who has autism. Their doctor said to take them to ER and they would call them. The person was hitting caregivers because he didn’t feel well. When we finally forced the ER to examine the person, they diagnosed him with pneumonia. They wanted to send him home without looking at him.

  9. dush says:

    Get the US some of that European health care stat!

    • MMD says:

      Because errors never happen in the US?

      • Ilovegnomes says:

        This happens all the time in the U.S.. If you aren’t a huge drama queen in front of your doctor, you will hear, “Oh, it is all in your head.” I had to fire 6 doctors who told me this until I got one to finally run some tests. Never mind the fact that I’ve got results from my lab tests that show I’m going into organ failure. I guess I need to take some acting classes on how to be more dramatic before American doctors will take me seriously as a patient.

        • MMD says:

          You’ve made my point for me…

          What I was saying to the poster above me was that errors happen in the US and abroad, so it’s pretty flimsy to hang your argument against European-style healthcare on this story.

          • Kuri says:

            I see things the same way.

            In my mind little would change, save for the fact that you don’t risk losing your home if you dare get sick.

  10. dourdan says:

    please don’t be from the united states…….please don’t be from the united states……….please don’t be from the united states


  11. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    Well, she’s just going to have to wait until her body naturally goes into labor before it can be removed.

  12. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My sister-in-law died of ovarian cancer at age 61. Over the course of about 2 years, she bloated up and looked pregnant. Her legs swelled, and she couldn’t breathe. Her doctor advised her to diet, excercise, and lose weight. And treated her for asthma. And then for congestive heart failure.

    1 week before she died, she was admitted to another hospital, where they took a fluid sample from her abdomen, and did a CT scan. She had end stage cancer.

    On one hand, she hadn’t seen a gynocologist for about 15 years. On the other hand, I would have expected her PCP to ask her about gynocologist visits, and if she said she hadn’t been there, the next step would have been an abdominal CT or some sort of test, not treatment for asthma or CHF and advice on diet and excercise.

  13. axiomatic says:

    A 24 pound tumor with a heart beat? Because if it didn’t have a heart beat I assume those doctors are losing their licenses right now?

  14. Press1forDialTone says:

    How to do socialized medicine as an Epic Fail.

    • Kuri says:

      This could have happened in the United States as well, in fact it or similar things do.

      For years and years and years my mom kept telling doctor’s she had a thyroid issue.

      In all previous cases doctor’s said she was just fat. In the last five years, they finally found her thyroid problems, so hate on socialized medicine all you want, as in reality the only difference is you don’t go into debt for things far beyond your control.

  15. Otto44 says:

    And thanks to tort reform, good luck suing.

  16. Otto44 says:


  17. tinyhands says:

    I’m pretty sure two of my sister’s kids are actually tumors and not children.