Houda Rafle, 28, was vibrant and full of energy. An E! News television producer for the Canadian arm, sadly Rafle passed away on Thanksgiving Eve with her six brothers and sisters at her bedside.
Back on March 5, Rafle sought medical treatment for shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting at Toronto’s Trillium Health Centre. At the time, she was not properly diagnosed. According to a complaint that was filed just two weeks before her death, the radiologist, Dr. Ivo “Ivan” Slezic missed the half-inch mass just above her heart prominent in the CT Scan. When she returned to the hospital five months later with a chronic cough, the tumor was spotted after another CT Scan was performed. The mass had grown to nearly an inch and spread to her lungs. She was diagnosed with stage IV angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of blood vessels; it eventually spread to her brain.
The family is pursuing Houda’s wishes with the lawsuit. According to their attorney Duncan Embry, “Their wish is that they very much want to continue the lawsuit … Houda started this process to bring about change and they feel very strongly that the process should continue and that change is absolutely required in our system.”
The family believes Trillium was negligent in failing to report Dr. Slezic’s role was restricted and his 3,500 CT scans and mammograms he read between April 2012 and March 2013 were under review. They firmly believe he shouldn’t have been working because his abilities were impaired by fatigue, medical conditions or other factors.”
Their attorney also tells media, “She lost her life a as result of failure of the medical system. It’s about accountability in our system. When it comes to disease processes like this, time matters.”
Deb Matthews, Ontario’s health minister, who is aware of the case, said the province is looking for ways to improve quality assurance for radiology. “We expect the highest standard of care from our hospitals and our dedicated physicians – as do Ontarians. Our hospitals take any questions about the quality of care provided very seriously, and I know that there are always more steps we can take to make our health care system even better.”