Etta James is Terminally Ill, Live-In Doctor Says
Etta James’ live-in doctor, Dr. Elaine James, announced on Thursday that the “At Last” singer has chronic leukemia. The doctor, who has been living with the singer since March 2012, said James’ condition is incurable. She told the press: “I am Southern and Christian and would just ask for the prayers of her fans and friends. [Fans] know she’s been sick, but not how sick."
At this advanced stage, drug therapy, chemotherapy, bone marrow, or stem cell transplants are all possible treatments for chronic leukemia. The singer, however, has experienced various health problems over the past decade. She went through gastric bypass surgery in 2003 and had complications with a lap band procedure in 2001. More recently, she was hospitalized for blood and urinary tract infections. In the past, James also suffered with pain killer and heroin addictions.
Donto James, who oversees court proceedings regarding the singer’s estate and care, and brother Sametto James were not involved in the announcement. In fact, they still want verification of the diagnosis, and in the past, Donto compared Dr. James’ care to that of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician behind Michael Jackson’s death. Regarding the recent announcement and his lack of trust in Dr. James, Donto told the press: "I saw her the day before yesterday, and I think she needs to be in the hospital. She doesn't look good."
Dr. James has been involved with the singer’s care since she experienced complications from lap band surgery in 2001. Daily, she oversees nurses responsible for the singer’s care, works with other specialists, and provides basic caretaking. About her role in caring for James, the attorney for Artis Mills, James’ husband, said: “Dr. James is keeping this lady alive. […] My client will spend whatever he thinks is necessary to keep his wife alive.”
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