Thursday, June 11, 2009

Missing a Diagnosis

My first patient of the day was a young woman who is undergoing chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer. After I had examined her and dealt with the medical issues that I- as a Primary Care doc- needed to take care of, she starts telling me about when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It seems like her belly started swelling, so she went to her doctor and told him that she thought something was wrong with her. He said- you really need to exercise- so, she did. Then she started having bloating, felt short of breath as she lay down in bed, she went to him again- again nothing was done. Finally, in desperation, her mother took her to the ER, where she had a ascitic tap and got admitted for further work up.
I asked her - did this physician ever examine you? She says I cannot honestly remember.
Wow! What's happened to us- what do we do with our patients? My take home point is- always examine the patient in the best way you possibly can. Their life depends on it.
Here is a review of ovarian cancer.

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