Medical and Legal Dopers - could this person be lying (rape/breast cancer)?

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).

Someone who is under 18 can have their own medical insurance through their job, though I believe to keep it totally private you would probably have to be an emancipated minor. I was an emancipated minor and had my own job, apartment, drivers license, auto and medical insurance at 16. I am very unusual. Getting emancipated is a royal pain in the arse.

There is an assload of paperwork involved in any surgical procedure unless you release it to the next doctor, he/she can not access it. Oddly enough, there is a way to tell if someone was admited for surgery in the US, I went in for a proceedure, and my doctor called me ripping pissed because I had said that I had no children, because someone with my name had birthed a kid in that particular hospital. I told him to look at the date - it had been a cousin that had the same name giving birth when I was 8 years old… oops. Both first and middle names are traditional in my family and I have a number of relatives with the same names in various combinations=)

One of th eboard doctors will be along shortly for teh specific medical questions=)

Good grief…I can see the crazy from way over here. I think you are totally justified in being suspicious.

Not a lawyer, so I’ll skip #1. Although it sounds unlikely to me.

Okay, so this here:

is rubbish. You don’t go through with an operation if you know you are wrong going into it. That’s a perfect setup to be sued out the waazoo.

First of all, if she did have some kind of reconstructive surgery, there would be (1) scars and (2) radiographic evidence. Breast implants show up quite nicely on a plain chest x-ray.

Secondly, there would almost certainly be records somewhere. Could you find them? That’s a bit more tricky. Speaking on someone who recently completed a chart review, hospital medical records can be easily misplaced. Especially something from 1996. It would almost certainly be a paper record, and would probably be warehoused somewhere. I wouldn’t put your odds at getting something like that as very good. It’s not impossible, but when I was trying to find records from much more recently, I probably didn’t manage to get…~10% of them, for one reason or another. To request her records, she’d have to go back to the hospital that generated them in the first place and get a copy. As the patient, it shouldn’t be too hard for her to do. Her other physicians would also be able to request them, but they would need a release of information form from her.

The rest of the questions…I’m not 100% sure, so I’m going to dodge them. I do know that breast cancer at 21 is vanishingly rare. A lot of the questions regarding chemo and treatment would vary with the type of breast cancer she had. Not telling your physician about previous breast cancer when you present with a suspicious lump is a bit horrifying. There is no national database of medical information in the US, so the patient IS the primary source of information in most cases. Withholding information like prior malignancy is really scary.

Frankly though, I’ve known and loved some pathological liars in my time, and this situation is setting off warning bells. The fact that the story keeps changing and she won’t give details to help verify it are red flags, IMO.

I am not a doctor or lawyer, but she sounds like she’s lying through her teeth. If a minor girl reports a rape, I don’t think there’s any way in hell that the parents wouldn’t be notified. As far as the breast cancer goes, I know that there’s a very big difference between a mastectomy and a lumpectomy, and if she’s using the words interchangeably, then she herself doesn’t know if she had a lump removed or a breast, which is absurd.

Why would she be lying about these things? People out there can be pathological liars. Or perhaps she’s extremely self-conscious about her breasts, and made up a lie for your brother. Either way, I would think your brother – intelligent guy he is – would be able to tell if she’s had a breast removed and reconstructed.

In any event, her story sounds dubious at best. Too many inconsistencies. Just my two cents.

That’s the thing, all these stories seem so…unbelievable, especially when looked at together. But when fed to us in little bits and pieces, it took a while to start to add up.

Hope I wasn’t unclear, we have proof from my brother that she has had some sort of operation on both breast (ie scars), and has implants. This is being presented to us as reconstructive surgery from the breast cancer op. I am wondering if she is covering up or (ahem) enhancing a breast augmentation with a more interesting story.

So, basically, there should be information out there that you could hopefully found if you dug hard enough? It does sound a bit like she doesn’t want to ‘find’ anything out.

Yes, that’s the troubling thing to me to. The story morphs as you dig deeper, and there are never any witnesses or people you could ask about it. It all seems very convenient.

Another thought that popped into my head. When I was trying to get life insurance, my history of cancer precluded me from getting covered for cancer. In my case, it was a childhood liver cancer that would never recur as an adult, but that was enough for them. Surely with her history, she couldn’t get covered for cancer if she admitted to this. How does that work in the states? Here they request your medical records once you have declared a medical issue. Is it different over there?

Hmm, how to find out if she has life insurance that covers cancer…

It’s all insane both 1 and 2. Your brother is being played. The main question at issue for you is if she is merely a compulsive liar, lying for her own emotional needs or entertainment, or whether there are larger issues at play re her setting your brother up for some sort of a taketown.

Your brother (to be frank) despite whatever “intelligence” he may have sounds like an idiot. Anyone with a room temperature IQ should be able to smell this BS.

I’m calling shenanigans on this one.

For one, breast cancer in a woman under 40 (let alone as young as 21) is RARE. I’m talking less than 5% of overall cases rare. On top of that, breast cancer in women under 40 tends to be much more aggressive, which means that patients tend to be in more advanced stages when diagnosed and will usually be given far more aggressive treatments than their older counterparts.

So, even if she was in that unlucky minority, it’s a little suspicious that she makes no mention of having received additional treatment including chemo and/or radiation therapy on top of any surgical treatment. When it comes to chemo/radiation, we’re also talking about several months’ worth of treatment, during which the patient will lose her hair… a hiatus from school wouldn’t be entirely unusual either, for that matter.

Even barring the possibility that her charts have mysteriously gone missing and that she’s hiding this info from her physician, there should at least be photos of her during that period looking thinner, paler and wearing a hat/kerchief/wig. There would also be some tell-tale scarring… as good as the surgeons have gotten at making scars unnoticeable to the casual observer, I’d be surprised if they’ve managed to hide them so well that her own husband isn’t able to spot them either.

(ETA: I see you’ve confirmed there is visible scarring… so scratch that, though I’d be inclined to think it means she had a boob job rather than post-masectomy reconstruction)

Yeah, I know that it sounds insane. But there is always some sort of further explaination…that could possibly help explain…ah, hell, who am I kidding…

We did have a thought a while ago that there was an element of Narcissistic Personality Disorder about her. She has no close friends, keeps dropping them and moving on. She has no empathy for others (as stated by my brother), is *always *right, there’s always a drama around her and all her stories make her out to be the victim or the star of the show. Always making her seem special or unique.

As for my brother, his emotional intelligence in relationships sucks, and I suspect that to believe that your spouse is lying to you is, well, frankly horrifying. So I can kind of see why he defends the crazy.

Okay, the big giveaway isn’t the stories, it’s that the stories change. It doesn’t even matter what the details of the stories are, if they’re always different. Total lie somewhere in there and possibly all over it.

I suspect that a rape allegation by a 14-year-old would typically trigger an investigation of the family by the local children’s services authority.

Considering that it’s illegal in most US jurisdictions for police to speak to a child without the permission of the child’s parents, I’d say her story about getting someone convicted of raping her at 14 is a total fabrication.

I think I’ve gotten to the point in my life where, while I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, I’m no longer willing to explain away the red flags that pop up.

This lady has planted a forest of them. While you can’t physically remove your brother, if I were you, I’d do what I could to get him away from her.

Life insurance over here is typically bundled in with the health insurance package you get from your employer. It’s generally a single form with a section for health insurance and a section for life (and sometimes sections for short- and long-term disability, if your employer offers it).

They ask for a medical history, but I’ve never been denied coverage on such a group plan, even with a previous cancer diagnosis. The main advantage of a group plan is that the risk is spread out over all the employees of the company, so your individual medical history matters less. I’m not sure of the legalities surrounding this, but it might be that they’re not allowed to deny you from participating in a group plan.

In any case, if she has life insurance under a group plan offered by her job, whether or not she had cancer probably wouldn’t matter. If it’s a policy she bought herself, no idea. It might be cause for a denial of coverage, but I have no personal experience with that.

See, I think that is part of it. It would be rare, and therefore make her more interesting/special/whatever. There is always an emphasis about how special she is. How she is great with people and how all men just want to sleep with her.

We have not heard anything about aggressive treatments or anything, as well. No loss of hair or weight. And no photos. Despite her background in modelling (yes, another story I’m dubious about :rolleyes:), there are very few photos of her kicking about, that I have seen anyway.

That’s what I would have thought myself too.

She is self employed as they own their own business, so it wouldn’t be a group plan. Thanks for the info, though.

That’s exactly right…I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, so I can’t help you there, but if the story keps changing upon questioning, that’s a dead giveaway in my book.

She sounds a lot like some people I am related to. One had reactive attachment disorder, and the other is schizophrenic. Either could tell me it was pouring rain, and I wouldn’t believe them even if I were standing outside getting soaking wet. You have my sympathies.

This is why I am worried that there is a real problem going on, something other than her being a drama queen that likes the attention. Boy, would I love to talk to her first husband. That is, if he really was her husband. That story goes that when she came to divorce him, she found out that she hadn’t really been married to him in the first place.

Is that possible? To go through a huge wedding ceremony, to “not get the paperwork filed” and therefore not be married (yet somehow not realise)? That couldn’t happen in the UK, as far as I know.

And, no, I’m not making this up.

Thank you, and you mine.

Smells of pathological liar.

I would imagine you *could *have a ceremony that looked very much like a wedding but not fill out the civil paperwork. I had two wedding ceremonies (one Western-style ceremony, and one Hindu) on the same day. We had one of the officials sign the form for us. The other one said, basically, “OK, whatever”. So, I would think you could tell the official some story that would satisfy them. Maybe, “We got married by a judge a year ago and want to have the ceremony now” or something like that. The official would probably take your word for it. But the bride and the groom and the witnesses would all kinda have to be in on it. I would think that if the groom did this behind the bride’s back (for what purpose?) the bride or the best man/maid of honor would at some point say, “Hey, isn’t there something we need to sign?” So, I find it possible but unlikely that they could have a “huge wedding cermony” and not really get married legally.

ETA: a buddy of mine had two ceremonies, separated by a month and several hundred miles. I assume only one official signed the paperwork. So, again, as long as you give the official a plausible story, they’ll probably take your word when you tell them you don’t need the paperwork signed. Still sounds like a fishy story to me, though.

Of course, the police department would have to notify the parents of a minor child if a crime has been committed against that child so that they could provide legal, medical and psychological support to that child. Practically speaking, the parents would have to provide transportation to/from the court and notify the school that their child would be absent that day.

They would also have to be notified so that they could exercise their right to file a suit in civil court against the perpetrator. In cases involving a minor, the parents would file suit in re to their minor child.

If the police department DIDN’T notify the parents, the parents would have a cause of action against them.

This chick’s full of tales.

Would the official file the paperwork, or the couple? I think the story went that her “husband” didn’t file what needed to be filed, unbeknownst to her, but I thought the official did this.