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« New Year's Revelations | Main | Missing a Cancer Diagnosis II »

January 05, 2014


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Bill Kleine

Tom's doctor joyfully told him the appendix was fine; it must have just been "a passing thing" he told this young man is apparent perfect health-a runner without a bad habit in his entire lifestyle. Two years later the colon cancer was in all lobes of his liver. Tom spent the next year quite joyfully, consoling more than being consoled. He refused to even allow even his dear wife blame the surgeon. Amy's routine pathology had a second page. The doctor didn't scroll down. Two years later and bitterness fills her. She is even blind to the fact the doctor bared his soul in sorrow-freely admitted full guilt [more than his share of the blame], and she is blind to the fact that she has gotten the best oncologist for her disease--one who even cured a friend of mine's unknown primary.

Now, when a doctor does something willfully arrogant-I've seen one classify a 10 pound tumor as stage 1 [the pathologist made a point of using that measure in his written argument] to which the surgeon replied "I'm very nihilistic about treating this type of tumor..." Or when the doctor says something blatantly stupid, like when the first pathologist called my 3x5cm lung met "completely normal" they must be held accountable. The rest are forgiven by God, and by us if we have any charity in our hearts.

I told my sister-in-law about the "scrolling error" and she turned white as a sheet. Her practice is huge because she is sought out for her compassion as much as her great skill. She could see that happening to her... He reaction was the right one. She changed her office practice. All paths and labs must be printed out and initialed by a doctor. No word stuck at the bottom of a routine sounding document would escape the human eye in that way. Mary suffers with each patient's death, not because she is so skilled but because she is so good.

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