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Laura Jane White: An angel gone far too soon

Globe and Mail Update

My 15-year-old daughter, Laura, was so excited that her final exams were finished and enjoyed the time with the family on her sister's graduation night.

Laura had been suffering from headaches and the doctors did not know what was wrong. I asked for blood tests to be done and when the results came in our lives were changed forever.

Laura was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia June 20th and in three weeks she was dead!

Laura died from a flesh-eating infection caused by the "ICU" superbug called Enterobacter. Her oncologist afterwards told us that this is a side effect from the chemotherapy drugs.

So many things went wrong in those three weeks Laura was in the cancer ward of the hospital. After two years, the College of Physicians and Surgeons put some of the blame for Laura's treatment on two doctors, an oncologist replacing Laura's oncologist who went on vacation without letting his patients know, and the surgeon who performed a bothed-up operation to insert an intravenous catheter line.

The hospital has made changes in the aftermath of the tragic death of our Laura. We sincerely hope these changes are being put in practice.

Laura's death demands that future parents and children with cancer in similar difficult circumstances know all the facts and truths about chemotherapy — verbally and in writing, with more consultation and options allowed to offset the risk of possible death due to the chemotherapy drug side effects.

Oncologists cannot continue to keep quiet during initial discussions with the family about death to children, especially those with AML, from the side effects of chemotherapy and just hope it will not happen.

Robert White, parent
Laura's Tribute Website:


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