Theresa Ginn’s greatest joy was being a mother. She only had one child and they were best friends. She and her daughter Ashley traveled together, and they lived together. Theresa retired after years of working for the County of Sacramento. However, when her daughter decided to go back to college, Theresa selflessly made the sacrifice to end her retirement and go back to work. Theresa paid for her daughter’s education because she did not want her to worry about debt.
Theresa loved to help people. She was a mother to everyone. Her heart was open to her nieces and nephews, her friends and her co-workers. People depended on her for counsel, and support, and to be there for them. That was her role for her inner circle. Theresa worked hard and thrived on being the go-to person for everyone in her life.
When Theresa began to have bad headaches, she sought medical assistance. She was shocked to learn she had seven brain tumors. However, her medical provider believed that the brain tumors and headaches were not related. She was skeptical when she was told that the brain tumors were not a concern, and that her provider would just monitor them. But she trusted the doctors’ advice.
Theresa was sent to a general practitioner with a diagnosis of headaches, where she was offered treatments including Motrin, Botox, and other general measures. Enduring these random treatments, Theresa suffered in constant pain. One of the providers told her that he thought she was making it up and claimed that the pain was only psychological.
At a six-month checkup it was discovered that Theresa’s largest tumor had grown. Her doctor finally recognized the urgency and scheduled surgery to have the tumors removed, but the delay had allowed the disease causing the tumors to spread to her colon. Theresa had to undergo emergency colon surgery, and there were complications. She spent months in and out of the hospital dealing with the repercussions. She eventually had the surgery to remove her brain tumors but too much time had lapsed. Theresa now needed chemotherapy. She started chemotherapy treatment, but the illness sapped her health, making her too weak to handle the chemotherapy. Had her provider taken the tumors seriously from the start, the disease would have been identified and they could have stopped its spread to her colon and beyond. Instead, due to the extended delays, Theresa suffered needlessly for almost two years and endured the pain until she died.
Theresa worked so hard to give her daughter the opportunities that she never had. Her gift for all the sacrifices she made was living long enough to witness her daughter graduate from college. It was the happiest day of Theresa’s life because she believed in higher education and she was able to see her and her daughter’s dream come true. Thanks to Theresa’s support, her daughter graduated with honors.
After her mother’s death, her daughter filed a complaint with the Medical Board of California, seeking accountability. But her complaint was dismissed without an interview and without any communication besides a basic form letter.
She says “My mother’s seven brain tumors were left untreated, her pain misdiagnosed as a headache, and her providers admitted they had overlooked scans that revealed her disease. But somehow, according to the Medical Board, this treatment fell within the standard of care.”
Theresa was not a statistic. She was a person who contributed to society. She was a person who was well loved by her family. She was a person who deserved to receive the medical care she needed to save her life.