Twenty-Percent of Patients Are Misdiagnosed!

photo credit: zap2it.com

photo credit: zap2it.com

I just watched an episode of “A Healthy You,” hosted by Carol Alt, a cancer survivor and model. One of her topics was about being misdiagnosed. According to her research, 20% of patients are misdiagnosed! From what I hear from patients I visit in the infusion center, that number sounds about right. I was misdiagnosed by 2 different doctors for a year before I was correctly diagnosed with cancer. The first one said I had a bacterial infection and the second said it was hemorrhoids.

I accepted their different diagnosis even though my intuition didn’t agree. I almost died because I didn’t question them and seek out another opinion. Let my story be a lesson to you. It’s so important for you to take charge of your own health! You know your body better than anyone else, even someone with a medical degree.

knockout-suzanne-somers-book

Suzanne Somers writes about her story of being misdiagnosed in her book, “Knockout” only, she was told she had cancer, which turned out to be wrong! If she hadn’t listened to her intuition, she could have died from treatment, she didn’t even need!

Don’t be afraid to speak up and stand up for yourself. Yes, you might get some flack from your doctor, if he/she is the kind who thinks he/she knows everything and isn’t willing to listen to you… but think about it, do you want someone caring for you that has an ego that big??? Fire that doctor and look for someone else. Your life depends on it.

Be well!

Ingebird

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Not All Physicians are the Same

doctor

Not all physicians are the same when it comes to patient care. I am finding that to be true more and more, as I hear stories from cancer patients. It isn’t just the fact that a particular physician makes a misdiagnosis but some seem to have serious lack of a ‘bedside manner’ — to being outright nasty.

I was so fortunate to have a team of doctors who seemed to truly care about me — the patient and always kept a positive attitude, even when there were ‘bumps in the road’.

I am currently helping a cancer patient who has quite a few complications, that I admit  make it a challenge to treat her, but this person has gone through so many health issues throughout her life and always came out of it, that she will not let cancer cause her to give up now. Her doctor has different ideas, which brings me to my topic. He is the most negative healthcare practitioner I ever heard of. He has never said one word of encouragement and even when she responds to treatment (so far) he gives her a bleak outcome.

I truly don’t know how she restrains herself from kicking this guy straight in his balls. If I were her, I would demand a new doctor and I would write a letter to the hospitals chief of staff about his behavior — at the very least this guy needs a refresher course on ‘bedside manners’.

I remember a speech that was given by the Oncology Departments Chief of Staff… his first words were — “the physician sets the tone for the patient. If he/she is negative the outcome will be the same. Patients need to be given hope, no matter how sick they are.”

Does this particular doctor even ‘get’ that? Part of a patient’s wellness program includes their mental attitude. So many patients are already afraid when they hear the word ‘cancer’ — it is up to the healthcare team to make sure the patient feels cared for and to have a positive attitude. This particular doctor is so obvious, to at least me, that he doesn’t care.

I’m guessing that at least most of you have watched at least one episode of the television show “House” — that doctor is such an ass that I couldn’t watch more than a few episodes. His character is a perfect example of how not to act, but he seems to limit his nasty behavior to his staff and not his patients.

If you are experiencing similar treatment from your doctor or someone on the hospital staff, you have a right to get a new healthcare practitioner and you have a right to lodge a formal complaint. When you are sick, you not only need to have the best team available who knows how to treat your particular illness, but they also have to want to help get you back to wellness.

Be well,

Inge

A Lesson About Change

imagesCA4RCHQ3This week has been all about doctor visits. Its time to get my six month check-ups and Pet CT Scan — all are a part of my five-year surveillance plan. My scans came back good — no they are great, my oncologist says my blood test results look great.

UCI is always busy with patients and I learned that a 10 o’clock appointment can turn into an 11 o’clock one. The great thing about doctors at UCI is that they do not rush the patients — well at least mine don’t. There is nothing worse in my book than seeing a doctor and feeling that I’m not being heard. The downside is that they run late, so I learned to bring a book.

This morning I brought a book about Buddhism and the section I was reading discussed change and how we humans just hate that and how that emotion leads us to suffering. I found myself agreeing with the author. I certainly knew many people who hated change and they in fact did feel bad when change happened in their lives. I, however, was pretty well-adjusted and understand that things change all the time. It’s part of that impermanence thing.

Then my name was called and I went through he usual weight and blood pressure routine and was led to a small room to wait for my radiation doctor. UCI is a teaching hospital so its protocol for a resident to come in first to go over any issues and updates. That’s exactly what happened this time, but when he was leaving, he told me a doctor’s name I didn’t know, would be in to see me shortly. I told him that he must have gotten me confused with another patient. Dr.Wong is my doctor and I am seeing him today. That’s when I was ambushed with the news. Dr. Wong moved to Canada.

Everything I read a few minutes earlier — things I agreed with — went right out the window. Moved? How could my doctor abandon me? He is an intricate part of Team Inge and nobody — I mean nobody is as smart as he is when it comes to radiation treatment. Never mind the fact, I haven’t needed treatment since May 2011.

My new doctor, I forgot her name immediately — because I stopped listening — asked me the typical questions Dr. Wong always asked me, or at least I think she did. It was hard for me to focus on her words with all the talking going on in my head…how qualified is she? Does she know anything about my type of cancer? How old she? Why didn’t Dr. Wong call me to tell me that he was leaving?

My office visit lasted only a few minutes. No, I didn’t have any questions…see you in six months. It took me a good hour to process my feelings and accept that my doctor is gone. He was offered a better position in Canada and since he is Canadian, a chance to practise medicine in his homeland. Who can argue against that?

There is a special bond that happens between a patient and their doctor, especially when that patient faces a life threatening illness and that doctor helps in the recovery of that patient. It’s not just me, I read accounts from other patients who experienced the same thing. It has to do with the nurturing that is receved from the healthcare providers. It’s the same feeling of nurturing that we get from our parents when we are young. We feel safe and cared for. But just like anything else these relationships are impermanent. Parents grow old and eventually die — and doctors move away. The feeling can be similar…the feeling of loss..which Buddha calls suffering.

I gave this a great deal of thought this afternoon and I am better now. It’s also a valuable lesson that seems to have come at a convenient time. Who knew that the words I was reading were about to play out in real life.

Namaste!

Inge