Breast Cancer Patient Blames Kaiser
11-21-2014 03:20:00

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A woman got breast cancer after 16 years of hormone replacement therapy from Kaiser, she claims in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

     Eva Marie Fellner sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, an Oregon nonprofit corporation dba Kaiser Permanente; Northwest Permanente, P.C., an Oregon professional corporation, Mary L. Knox, M.D., Wendy Jane Smith, M.D. and Susan E. Wagner, P.A., for personal injuries based upon professional negligence.
     According to Fellner’s lawsuit, Kaiser doctors and nurse practitioners prescribed hormone replacement therapy for her menopause symptoms from July 1996 until Dec. 2012.
     “This drug therapy consisted of Climara, a transdermal patch containing estradiol, and an oral synthetic progestin. From 1996 through 2010, the progestin component prescribed was generic medroxyprogesterone acetate (‘MPA’). From 2010 through 2012, plaintiff’s healthcare providers switched the progestin from MPA to generic norethindrone acetate (‘NETA’),” (Pg. 2, No. 5) the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
     A Nov. 2012 mammogram revealed a tumor, which was diagnosed as hormone-receptor positive breast cancer in Dec. 2012, according to the complaint.
     “When combined with estrogen, MPA and NETA disrupt the body’s androgen receptor signaling and promote the growth of breast cancer cells,” the complaint states. “Thus, MPA and NETA fuel the growth of cancer cells that would otherwise lie dormant or grow very slowly,” it says.
     A safer alternative product, Prometrium (oral micronized progesterone, or “OMP”), has been on the market since 1998, according to the complaint.
     “In the body, OMP has the same effects as the body’s natural progesterone. Unlike MPA and NETA, OMP does not promote the growth of breast tumors, and therefore, does not increase the risk of breast cancer when combined with estrogen,” the complaint states.
    Fellner contends she would have used OMP instead of MPA and NETA if Kaiser had told her about it, but they did not do so.
     Eva Marie Fellner seeks economic damages up to $700,000 for past and future medical expenses, $6 million in non-economic damages, compensation for past and future diminished earning capacity, costs and a jury trial. She is represented by Michael L. Williams and Leslie W. O’Leary of Williams O’Leary in Portland.