Sorry, this might be a little long. There are a few factual questions here, but I am also looking for an informed opinion, so feel free to let me know if you think I am being paranoid or this person’s story is all over the place.
The situation is this. I live in the UK. I have a brother who lives in the US and is married to a US citizen. To cut a long story short, our family has a few issues with his wife, not least of which is the fact that we suspect that she is either exaggerating the truth over a number of matters, or outright lying. Naturally, the latter would make us worry greatly about what my brother has got himself into. Although an incredibly intelligent person, he has a history of staying in relationships when they are obviously doomed, and being a bit of a doormat. Hence the worry.
Because we don’t know how things work in the US, we are not sure whether our suspicions are justified. This is where I turn to you. I have great faith that the collective dope can give us a few answers and opinions that might put our minds at ease (or not!). I have picked two of the events that we have been told that perhaps could be explained if we knew the right information. All the other stories are impossible to disprove or prove as they involve people we can’t talk to or celebrities (well, only one story involved a celebrity, but still!).
**First possible untruth: **
She was raped at age 14 by her then (older) boyfriend. She managed to get him prosecuted and incarcerated without either of her parents’ knowledge. This would have taken place in Illinois, in the late 1980s.
**My questions: **
Would this be feasible? What would the procedure be in the state of Illinois if a minor aged 14 was raped and subsequently reported it to the police? Is it possible for the perpetrator to be charged and go through the court process without the minor disclosing the event to her parents or guardian? Would medical evidence need to be obtained and would this be possible without a parent or guardian being involved? In short, could this happen?
Second possible untruth:
The initial story was that she had had breast cancer at age 21 (1996?), although there is no one who can corroborate this. She allegedly had a lumpectomy/mastectomy (not sure which, it keeps changing) and reconstructive surgery to both breasts/implants. She would have been a student at the time, either in Illinois or Missouri.
When we were told this, we were also aware that she had been on the pill for many years after this. From experience over here (friend who is a doctor), no one who had had breast cancer at that age would *ever *be prescribed the pill.
When concern for her health was expressed, the story changed. She now claims that she believes that she never had breast cancer, and that the doctors made a mistake which they then covered up by keeping up the pretence that she did in fact have cancer and going through with the operation.
When asked whether she would pursue this to try and figure out what the truth was, and perhaps even seek recompense for unnecessary medical treatment, we were told that there was no way to do this. No medical records would exist. When we queried this, we were then told that she wouldn’t do it anyway because she is a very private person, whatever that means! Personally, I would want to know for damn sure whether I had had cancer or not!
In addition, a few years ago she said that she went back to a different doctor about a suspicious lump. The doctor was not aware that she had already had breast cancer until after he had given her the all clear and she told him.
**My questions: **
Is this at all likely? How are medical records kept or stored so that other medical professionals can access them if needed? Where could you request your medical records from or would you keep your own copies?
With regard to the suspicious lump – would you see your primary care giver for a referral to a specialist, or would you go directly yourself? Would they not need to know your full medical history before making an assessment? Why would you not be upfront about your previous diagnosis?
What is the treatment procedure for a 21 year old with early stage breast cancer who has had a lumpectomy/partial mastectomy followed by reconstructive breast surgery? Any radiotherapy or chemo? Any restriction on going back on the pill? Any follow up tests or mammograms? Is it possible to breastfeed after reconstructive surgery and implants, or does this depend upon the extent of surgery? She has two young children that she breastfed. She also used clomid to get pregnant. Would that be a problem if you had had breast cancer?
What about insurance? At 21, being a student, would you have your own medical insurance, or still be insured through your parents? Or would the university you were attending cover you with their medical insurance (this was what we were told was the case)?
What about correspondence? Would you not have a ton of correspondence that was sent to you at the time by both the medical profession and your insurance company? Enough to build a case if you had been misdiagnosed and could prove it?
Sorry for the number of questions, but we are really scratching our heads as to how these two situations would have played out in the way that they were described to us. I hope no one who has gone through either of these situations takes offence at us questioning the veracity of these statements, as I say there are a number of other stories that add up to a rather implausible version of reality.
If anyone could enlighten me as to the way that things work in the US, I would be very grateful. Things have got to the stage where relationships are strained and I am worried about damaging my relationship with my brother and nephews (if I cannot trust my sister in law).