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Dr. Saturday

UNC Health Care didn’t take patient appointments immediately before and during North Carolina’s game Thursday night

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The University of North Carolina's hospital didn't schedule patients late Thursday afternoon and evening because of the team's football game Thursday night against Miami.

However, Kathleen Keating says her friend with Stage 4 breast cancer was called Wednesday and told that her cancer treatment scheduled for Thursday would have to be rescheduled.

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

“I think it’s criminal,” Keating said. “I like football, but it’s not even an equation you need to do in your head. Football versus cancer treatment? It’s just not a question.”

The unnamed patient was too ill to be interviewed Thursday, Keating said. She has Stage 4 breast cancer and is in considerable pain, Keating said.

Hospital officials said that the conflict was on the calendar for months, because the Thursday night game against Miami had been scheduled before the season began. UNC Health Care purposely didn't schedule anything past 3:30 p.m. because of the 7:45 p.m. game.

“We’ve been planning quite in advance for the fact that we wouldn’t want our patients in a major traffic jam,” spokeswoman Karen McCall told the paper. She also said that any last-minute rescheduling had to do with factors unrelated to the game. A factor like the malfunction of a piece of radiation equipment on Wednesday, according to Dr. Shelley Earp, the director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Earp told the paper that the radiation oncology clinics set up treatments on Saturday to accommodate the people it couldn't see on Thursday, similar to how it would act in the event of weather disruptions or holidays. Though it's likely a fair question to ask how a football game ranks with severe weather or a holiday.

“So it was a decision that was made by the providers,” Earp said. “Some of those people are going to have their therapy on Saturday. Some may not. It may not make a difference whether they have it every day. ... It was a considered decision.”

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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