Misdiagnosis- Recovery for Melissa


Three weeks ago, my sister Melissa was having severe abdominal pains and went to seek immediate medical attention at an Urgent Care facility near her home in Texas. After examination, they diagnosed her with gallstones and sent her in an ambulance to the nearest hospital for immediate emergency surgery. A few hours later she was prepped and sent into surgery. When she woke out of surgery, she was told there were no gallstones. They had misdiagnosed her and she was now experiencing increased pain and more severe complications due to the unnecessary surgery. 

After that surgery, she could barely communicate with doctors or family due to her increased pain level. When they looked into her increased pain they had found that the 5% chance of aggravating the pancreas had happened. They had created another issue- acute pancreatitis. Usually, with care, acute pancreatitis heals within 2-3 days. Melissa’s unfortunately had her in the hospital for two weeks due to her body being weakened from surgery, failed feeding tubes, not responding to pain medication, and infection. 

After those two weeks, her pain became manageable and they sent her home to finish healing. After about 4-5 days at home she started to experience extreme pain once again. Melissa’s doctor recommended her to the ER for a CT scan and labs. The scan showed that two cysts had newly formed on her pancreas. One of which is now larger than the pancreas itself. 

It is currently too dangerous to drain the cysts  for at least another few weeks, as they are newly formed and haven’t formed a hard wall. The hard wall makes them safe to drain. If they drain too early, it could burst in her body putting her life at risk. 

Melissa is now confined to the hospital on a feeding tube and PICC line (for infection) for at least another 4-6 weeks. At the end of that 4-6 weeks the large cysts will be drained. After the drainage, she will need another surgery to remove the gallbladder since it is now starting to create problems. 


Melissa holds position as a Team Lead Supervisor. She loves her job! And, while we are grateful to her employer for holding her position during this time, it is unfortunately considered unpaid leave. Melissa also has limited health insurance that won’t pay for a majority of her medical bills- emergency rooms, ambulance, surgeries, complications, medications- she will have limited to no assistance. Also, she has to make payments toward insurance in order for it to stay active. Since she’s currently not working, it’s becoming impossible for her to make payments. 

Melissa is a mother of three beautiful, smart, vibrant kids! She has worked incredibly hard and recently purchased a home in Texas. She will soon start falling behind on payments due to missed work. 

Throughout this entire experience, Melissa has remained steadfast and hopeful. We credit her strength to her faith and beautifully supportive community of friends and family who have prayed for her and sent notes of encouragement.

We recognize this is an incredible amount of money raise, but her life and future depends on it. I have to try for my sister. I have to help make her better for her children, my beautiful nieces and nephew. So, we are hoping and believing in the power of community! We would be so grateful for anything you can do to help financially and/or by sharing this page.


Isabel Santiago
Jersey City, NJ

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