Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Speaking of health-care issues and our medical system, a great book to check out is “What You Don’t Know Can Kill You” by physician-author Laura Nathanson.
The book is dedicated to the memory of her husband, Chuck, who died in 2003, less than three years after half a dozen doctors missed or misdiagnosed his rare and initially quite treatable cancer.
From a review in the “Washington Post” (to read the full article, click here):

By the time [Chuck’s] peach-size tumor was accurately diagnosed, a process that took about two years, it was very advanced and extremely difficult to treat. As Nathanson notes, accurate and timely diagnosis is the key to survival or even cure.
“You cannot rely on today’s medical system to keep you healthy, safe, and alive,” writes Nathanson, a pediatrician, although this claim is unlikely to suprise anyone who has recently experienced the unraveling patchwork that constitutes the health-care system. No one, she notes, is n charge, and the system is absurdly complicated, even for a physician.
But, she writes, “if I had taken the precautions set forth in this book, my husband of thirty years might be with me today.”

  • Donna

    You absolutely HAVE to research every resource possible to know what your condition is, what all your symptoms mean and what your medications should produce. The Merck Manual is a good book to have on hand and they also have a great website. The more you know the more you can help your doctor and yourself. Listen to your body and know when something feels out of sync. And the biggest thing you can do is speak up or take someone with you who can speak up for you. My badly hyperthyroid condition required me to take medications to lower the thyroid level so that I could have the thyroid removed. I was going to be left on very dangerous medications for weeks longer if my husband hadn’t spoken up for me and asked the doctor if my body was stable enough to go ahead with the surgery to cure my condition. I wasn’t strong enough to ask for myself. My doctor wasn’t thinking, or didn’t read my chart or I don’t know what he was doing. I just assumed he was going to tell me that it is time to do the surgery but he just said all my levels were good and was going to leave the room and me on my deadly medications. Human error is a dangerous thing in the medical profession. Watch out for yourself! Nurses are usually on top of things and are good to talk to but they don’t always convey what you say to the doctor. Tell him too. Tell everybody and maybe one will get you the help you need. It is a sad state sometimes.

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