Thursday, December 13, 2012


I want to be clear up front - in the story I am about to tell there is no malpractice.  In this case as soon as the surgeon realized the pet scan was wrong he sought permission to do the more radical surgery. 

For months my sister has been dealing with one failure of technology after another.  For the second time the stress test with nuclear die proved worthless.  One thing leads to another and a routine chest x-ray showed why she could not breath - lung cancer.  The initial doctor decided it was probably just an infection.  After the antibiotics failed, a pet scan showed stage one maybe early stage 2 lung cancer from second hand smoke.  After 4 months of chemo a new pet pcan was done, and the doctor effectively could not find the cancer.  She was scheduled for robotic surgery to remove one lympth node.  After the surgery started the doctor informed the family the pet pcan was worthless and that the cancer had spread to all of the lympth nodes.  The surgery was changed to a radical surgery through back.

It is not the doctor's fault that the pet pcan is worthless.  But here is where doctors mess up - if a test shows normal they assume you are imagining your problem.

When I had my gallbladder out the VA sent me home - I did not have a fever so I did not have a problem.  That night in the emergency room the blood work showed no infection.  The cat scan showed everything normal.  Only because I insisted did they do sonogram.  The gallbladder was ready to bust.  For more than 30 hours I was on antibiotics before the surgeon could go in.

Patients need to learn to be more aggressive with their doctors.  The technology is not working.  I now know a person can have a major infection without a high white count or fever.  These are reactions by the body to an infection.  If the body chooses to not react, then the tests will show nothing.

It is time the medical schools teach the doctors to listen and stop being over reliant on tests.  Tests are not certain - but the patient's symptoms are.

My sister is going to be fine.  Months ago I made a commitment to stay with her for 5 days after she got out of the hospital.  She is very animated and up and around.  She has to walk a mile a day.  It is about 37 outside and we are about to go for a walk.  She is happy to have a cook and maid the house.  Yesterday was homemade cream chicken made with a fresh homemade both.  This morning was bran muffins.  Tonight is chicken and rice - the rice made in another homemade both.  The side will be platano macho.  Tomorrow her daughter will cook while I go out for really good Thai food with some other family members.

Hopefully she will up to the grand kids on Saturday which means me cooking all day.  On Sunday I head back.  Hopefully tomorrow I will get to the beach  for an hour.


Anonymous said...

Great post! People do need to be more aggressive to be correctly diagnosed. Doctors need to look at the whole picture and practice critical thinking.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear your sister is doing well. You are lucky to have each other. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing and being such a great brother to your sister. In the name of God above and Jesus Christ our Lord you know you sister is healed of all cancer in her body and she knows it also. Blessings to your and your entire family. And everyone said, AMEN!