FedEx Loses Breast Tumor Bound For Lab, Scares Cancer Patient

When a shipping service loses your new computer or your book, it can be frustrating but not catastrophic. After all, somewhere there’s a warehouse full of more computers and more books. Shippers also handle things that are totally irreplaceable. Like human tissue on which someone’s life depends.

No, FedEx hasn’t started a sideline in transport for organ transplants. A Utah woman underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer, but patients with her specific type of cancer don’t always need to follow surgery up with chemotherapy. 80% of them do just as well without it, and there’s a test that can determine which type of tumor a patient has. It’s only offered at one lab in California, so patients send their tissue samples there. In this patient’s case, using FedEx.

If a patient does need chemotherapy, she needs to start it within about a month of the surgery. It was worrisome that the results weren’t in… and weren’t in… and then the patient and her doctor learned that the package containing her tissue samples had disappeared. It was last scanned in Oakland, California on February 24th. Time was running out to start chemotherapy.

“I don’t want to die because of this, because they lost my tumor,” the patient told ABC News. “I’m going to tell them to give me chemo.”

Fortunately, human tissue was replaceable in this case: there were additional samples of her tumor preserved in paraffin at the hospital. Her sample has been sent to the lab after all, and she should get the results telling her whether chemotherapy will be necessary next week.

Woman Says FedEx Lost Her Breast Cancer Sample [ABC News] (Thanks, Mindy!)

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