VICTORIA, Texas — A 54-year-old Victoria woman is trying to find sense in a life-changing diagnosis that never should have happened.
Herlinda Garcia said she became “a whole different person” after she was diagnosed with Stage IV terminal Breast Cancer.
That diagnosis came after Garcia had a benign tumor removed from her left breast.
“When you’re told you have stage four terminal cancer, that’s it,” Garcia said. “I put trust in the doctor.”
Garcia underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy for seven months. She recalls her physical health deteriorating and her mental health crumbling.
“Everything was swollen. I lost my eyebrows, my eyelashes,” Garcia said. “It’s really hard. I can’t explain how I felt. It’s like I was in a dream.”
The 54-year-old part time civil process worker found herself falling into a depression. She said she was so sure her life was going to end, she gave away most of her belongings and made a bucket list.
“I wanted to give up on everything,” Garcia said.
Garcia sought treatment for anxiety at Citizens Medical Center. Doctors performed some scans, and suddenly, there was a glimmer of hope.
Doctors suspected Garcia never had cancer.
A second opinion from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston confirmed that.
“I was happy, but at the same time, I had that anger. The damage had been done,” Garcia said.
An investigation found that Dr. Ahmad Qadri misread the lab results, and Garcia had been cancer-free all along.
Qadri has since died.
That didn’t stop a Victoria County jury from awarding Garcia $367,500 in damages from physical pain and mental anguish.
Garcia and her husband said that doesn’t make their pain go away.
“Sometimes you lose it,” explained husband Adam Molina. “I don’t wish this on anybody.”
Garcia said she hopes her story encourages everyone out there to always get a second opinion.
“I know I’m never going to feel the same because of what I went through. It changed my life,” Garcia said.