Click here to view a video clip of the Trial As Theatre seminar.


The drama you will see is based upon real stories involving the lives of real people. Some of the stories have already been told in the courtroom; others remain to be told. All of them, however, share a common theme — lives ruined as a result of harm caused by others. Lives ended and hearts broken. Children who lost their parents and parents who were robbed of watching their children grow. Husbands who have lost their wives and children who have lost their mothers.

The stories are shared with you today on behalf of those who have died and on behalf of the families they have left behind.

—Tom Kline

Trial As Theater

Directed and Produced by Tom Kline

Act One

"The Overture and The Stories"

The Stories of Darlene, Bonnie, Patricia, Juanita, Terry, Mary, Linda, Lawanda, Beverly, Linda and Charlotte

10 Minute Intermission

Act Two

"I've Been Everywhere"

10 Minute Intermission

Act Three

"The Finale"

Steven's Story

The Cast

  • Character: Linda
  • Character: Bonnie
  • Character: Darlene
  • Character: Lawanda
  • Character: Linda
  • Character: Juanita
  • Character: Patricia
  • Character: Beverly
  • Character: Mary
  • Character: Terry
  • Character: Steven

The Stories

Darlene, a 38-year old mother of two boys, died as a result of the negligence of her gynecologist, radiologist, and surgeon. Darlene had undergone a lumpectomy for which she had not been an appropriate candidate, followed by improper oncologic follow up. As a result, Darlene's recurred, spread, and she died.

Lawanda was a 36-year old woman when she died. Despite repeated complaints to her physicians, Lawanda's hard and painful breast mass was attributed to "fibryocystic disease," and she was advised to cut down on her caffeine intake. During her videotape deposition, Lawanda shared her feelings she experienced when she learned she had breast cancer. "I was crushed because I thought that my future with my daughter was cut short."

Linda is a 48-year old woman today struggling for her life against the orders of metastic uterine cancer, fighting daily to stay alive for her husband and for her teenage son, Ross. Linda underwent a hysterectomy, but the surgical pathology slides were misread as normal, when they actually demonstrated uterine cancer. Linda suffered months of excruciating, inexplicable pain until she was finally diagnosed, almost two years later and after the cancer had spread throughout her body.

Pat was married to her husband for 42 years when she learned that she had lung cancer. Pat's horror story began one year after she had undergone a routine x-ray. When she transferred physicians, she gathered her medical records and learned that the x-ray report had been filed away in her chart by her prior doctor. Pat shares her story of how she was numb when she learned of the diagnosis, angry at the people who failed to tell her about it, and scared to death of her future. Pat died less than a year after her diagnosis.

Juanita was a single mother. She was a school principal. She died at the age of 46 leaving her 11-year old daughter behind. While her mammogram revealed suspicious findings, a biopsy of her breast was never recommended or ordered, leading to a nine-month delay in the diagnosis and treatment of her breast cancer. Juanita's biggest concern: "What's going to happen to my baby? Who's going to take care of her?" Juanita knew that she was dying.

Charlotte is today a 29-year old single mother. She has two young boys. She was 27 years old when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, 14 months after a resident physician first palpated a lump in her breast. She never received a mammogram, and never underwent a surgical biopsy of her lesion when it saved her life. Her breast was never reexamined, despite having been to numerous clinic physicians on numerous occasions. Charlotte's case is scheduled to begin trial on July 16, 1999.

Linda was a 36-year old mother of three children when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She complained to her gynecologist of a persistent small lump in her breast. Rather than sending her to a surgeon, however, the doctor ordered a mammogram, which incorrectly diagnosed her as having "cystic disease". No further diagnostic follow up was ordered. Eight months later, Linda found a new physician to examine her now painful breast mass. The doctor ordered a surgical biopsy, which later diagnosed her as having infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Linda talks about her treatments of radiation, chemotherapy, and the possibility of a bone marrow transplant. She testifies about her understanding of her prognosis, and that without Chemotherapy she might have five years to live, and with Chemotherapy maybe her prognosis would be better. Seven months later, Linda's breast cancer has spread to her lung and brain. Her struggle ended shortly thereafter.

Bonnie was diagnosed with breast cancer at Christmastime at age 46. Bonnie hid the diagnosis of breast cancer from her family in an effort to spare them the pain during the holiday season. During her routine annual gynecological visit, Bonnie's doctor detected a small lesion in her breast. He did not advise her of his findings, but rather, sent her for a mammogram. Through a series of misadventures, the mammogram was misread and the report was filed away into Bonnie's chart. Nine months later, Bonnie complained of a lump in her breast, which by now, had doubled in size. Surgical excision and biopsy diagnosed infiltrating ductal carcinoma with lymphatic penetration. During her testimony, Bonnie describes her fight with cancer and how she continues to work while receiving her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Today, Bonnie continues her battle against breast cancer.

Terry was a 37-year old mother of two young girls when she learned that her pap smears had been misread. What was actually a malignant Class V pap smear had been reported to be a Class I (normal). During the time that had elapsed before she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, Terry's disease spread throughout her body leaving her with no chance of a cure. She died an early death in the prime of her life, let down by her pathology laboratory and the physicians who cared for her.

Beverly was a 34-year old woman who died as a result of the failure to diagnose her bone cancer, osteosarcoma. She suffered an ordeal of heroic treatments to try to attempt to halt the spread of the disease, namely, mutilating surgeries including below the knee amputation followed by a right hemipelvectomy. During her direct examination, Beverly shares her feelings about herself, and her understanding of her medical condition. When asked whether she had an understanding of her prognosis, Beverly replied, "I know that there is little chance for cure."

Click here to view a video clip of the Trial As Theatre seminar.