Medical neglect death due to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: an autopsy case report

Yosuke Usumoto, Naomi Sameshima, Akiko Tsuji, Keiko Kudo, Naoki Nishida, Noriaki Ikeda

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the case of 2-year-old girl who died of precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children. She had no remarkable medical history. She was transferred to a hospital because of respiratory distress and died 4 hours after arrival. Two weeks before death, she had a fever of 39 degrees C, which subsided after the administration of a naturopathic herbal remedy. She developed jaundice 1 week before death, and her condition worsened on the day of death. Laboratory test results on admission showed a markedly elevated white blood cell count. Accordingly, the cause of death was suspected to be acute leukaemia. Forensic autopsy revealed the cause of death to be precursor B-cell ALL. With advancements in medical technology, the 5-year survival rate of children with ALL is nearly 90%. However, in this case, the deceased's parents preferred complementary and alternative medicine (i.e., naturopathy) to evidence-based medicine and had not taken her to a hospital for a medical check-up or immunisation since she was an infant. Thus, if she had received routine medical care, she would have a more than 60% chance of being alive 5 years after diagnosis. Therefore, we conclude that the parents should be accused of medical neglect regardless of their motives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-240
Number of pages7
JournalFukuoka igaku zasshi = Hukuoka acta medica
Volume105
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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