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Still doing my bit.............


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to educate the medical profession!

I have just spent 9 days in Dartmouth Hospital with a pericardial effusion and have continued my quest to rid the world (or my very small part of it) of the drs who have no idea about cancer patients.

My saga starts in the emergency room of this very large, top rate hospital which is part of Dartmouth College Medical School. I went there from VT, with a racing heart and shortness of breath and was getting first class attention for several hours until a man came into my room wearing a white coat while an echocardiogram was being done. He didn't introduce himself and started muttering to the tech who did her best to finish the job while he was pointing things out to her. This man was already getting on my nerves as I could hear his muttering about a wall of blood clots or a tumor!(In reality this was radiation damage!)

When the tech left he proceeded to tell me that with my small cell history the reason for this effusion could really only be that the cancer had returned and even though the pneumonia of the previous week could be the cause the most likely scenario was cancer! He couldn't put enough stress on this and I was so shocked that I just lay there and tried my damnest not to cry.

My husband came back from the drink machine to find me in a real state. We digested this bit of news and then this dr came back in and introduced himself to MY HUSBAND!! I guess at this point I was chopped liver. Anyway, he went again to the cancer probability and started on about "statisically speaking".....well I lost it and told him if I listened to statisics I would have been dead for at least 3 years and what was the significance of the pneumonia? He then changed his tune a little and went on his way.

After my surgery (which went very well and there was no cancer) I told the cardiologist about this idiot cardiology resident in the ER, gave his name and told him to arrange for this guy to get some lessons in patient relations.

The doctor then asked ME how they should treat cancer patients under these circumstances so I educated him!! Hopefully no other cancer patients who see that same resident will have to listen to his off the cuff wrong diagnosis again.

I will be having a follow-up visit with my oncologist at this hospital very soon so I think it's time he and I had a chat about sorting out the idiots from the other disciplines.

So guys, I'm still using my soap box whenever I need to (and sometimes just for the hell of it) just chipping away one bit at a time.

take care everyone


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I'm sorry to read that you were treated so poorly by this fellow. I'm also glad to read that you stood your ground and, hopefully, he will get a few much needed lessons in the fact that patients are people and need to be treated respectfully. You keep that fightin' spirit, ok? We all benefit from that.


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ugh. you poor thing, this kind of treatment just stinks. and I remember how uncomfortable my mom was with her peric. eff.

you know, you shouldn't HAVE to tell the docs how to do their job...but thank god you did! I am an admirer, to say the least.

go girl! and I wish you a speedy recovery.



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Geri, honey...it may take a load of Decadron for me to wage war...but you don't need meds! Just your good ol' Brit tenacity, brilliance and chutzpah! :wink:

Dr. ER Resident sounds like a real clod. I wouldn't even wanting him diagnosing a hangnail. :? Glad you set him straight and ALSO your cardiologist there. If they don't have a bedside manner...then maybe they missed their calling.....auto mechanics! :roll: Sheesh.

Glad you're on the mend, honey. Check your email.

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Hey Addie,

I'm not so sure that it's tenacity or anything, I think the main reason that I get so PO'd is that I'm far enough out from diagnosis that I take offense when I'm not treated with respect.

When I was actually going through my tx etc I didn't come across this, but at the same time I was only dealing with oncology people who understood.

I think I will suggest to my onc that residents should do their training in oncology first so that they are aware of what not to say!!!

Well, I'm off to the crusades now on my white charger!

take it easy


ps. the cardiologist didn't put a foot wrong, he just wanted it from a cancer patient's point of view.

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Good for you Geri, Iam glad you did not let him get away with that. The nerve of him, he knew nothing about your history.

I am glad that you told the ER cardiologist about how you are suppose to educate a cancer patient.

Good going for you Ger

I have been thinking of you and I am glad that you seem to be much better.


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I got an email today from a very old customer of ours. It was basically addressed to Earl. I called the guy and told him that Earl had died over a year ago. His answer, "Oh the smoking got to him" or some such words.

He was very sorry he said this. Thank you Snow and Heb and so many others for enlightening us (wish you had not had to do so). He was good in that he said that he never knew this.

So we educate one person at a time and then another person. Soon our word will get out.

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Go, Geri! Yes, I think we patients and caregivers can teach the med profession a lot on patient care. I have many stories like yours since Lucie started this journey three years ago. Lucie and I were recently on a panel discussion on patient/doctor relationships for cancer support volunteers. At one point, I was sharing some points on how I have had to be the advocate and intercede for Lucie with the system. I said, "Sometimes I think I know more about how the system works than the doctors." The MD on the panel next to me said, "You do!". Give 'em what for, Geri! Don

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