Wednesday, March 16, 2011

359. Mis-treatment by a famous surgeon

This was a story related to me by a 30+ lady who had her rabbit treated by me. Her friend, also 30+ had a tumour near her heart and consulted a famous experienced surgeon in a government hospital.

"This surgeon had done many of such cases before and they were benign tumours. So he opened up the chest but the tumour was malignant," the rabbit owner said. "Worse of all, he could not remove all the tumour tissue. Imagine my friend's distress. If it is diagnosed malignant before the operation, chemotherapy could be used to shrink the tumour before operating. Now, my friend could not be given chemo-therapy and must wait 6 weeks."

"Waiting with malignant tumour inside her chest was very stressful. And the surgeon is a well known doctor in this hospital."

"Could a biopsy of the tumour be done to see whether the chest tumour is cancerous or not before proceeding to sugery?" I asked. She didn't know and neither did I.

"Did your friend seek a second opinion to get an earlier date for chemotherapy?" I asked.

"No," the owner said.

"So, what happened?"

"Well, my friend had chemotherapy 6 weeks after the operation. She is recovering in Europe."

Medicine springs some surprises to doctors and veterinarians. It is wise to do biopsies for chest tumours unless the owner does not want it done. The common practice for surgeons may be just to take out the tumour and send for histopatholgy test, rather than wait for biopsy results.

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