As Linda Woolley’s friends and family mourn her death, an investigation into the disturbing mistake that may have caused it continues.
Before her death earlier this month, Woolley, 73, claimed that doctors had mistakenly removed both of her healthy kidneys during surgery last year.
She accused doctors at the University of Colorado Hospital of needlessly removing her organs after she was mistakenly diagnosed with kidney cancer.
She told local news station KDVR the screening used to justify her surgery actually showed “no evidence of malignancy.”
But she claims the mistake was only revealed when a biopsy of the removed kidneys showed they were cancer free.
"It is terrifying because you have no choice when you go into a hospital," she told the station. "You trust that you’re going to be taken care of."
Woolley argued that her life "was totally changed" by the surgery, as she was forced to give up hobbies like swimming and horseback riding for weekly dialysis treatments.
When asked if she was owed an apology by the hospital, Woolley joked, "I feel like they owe me a kidney." She had also been considering a lawsuit against the hospital before her death.
Woolley’s health continued to suffer over the nine months following the surgery while she waited for an organ from a donor.
If a match could not be found among her friends and family, Woolley would have needed to join the national kidney transplant list, where patients spend an average of seven years waiting for a new organ.
One Woolley’s daughters, Jodi Fournier, places blame squarely on the hospital for the cardiac arrest that ended her life.
"There’s a few things the kidneys regulate, one of them being potassium," she explained. "And when you don’t have them you have the dialysis that removed those toxins in your body. Her [potassium] levels were twice what they should have been, and that ultimately caused the cardiac arrest."
A spokesperson for the hospital would not confirm if Woolley had been a patient there, while Woolley has a release form that says she was.
But they did issue condolences to Woolley’s family following her death on February 1.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones. We are committed to providing the highest-quality care for our patients," their statement read.
"Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss any specific patients because of federal and state laws that protect patients’ privacy."
Woolley’s family is continuing to collect donations through a GoFundMe page in her memory, to cover "end-of-life celebration costs and future/past expenses."
You can donate to the GoFundMe page in Woolley’s memory here.