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MEDICAL WISDOM: Get a second opinion

| December 20, 2020 1:00 AM

I woke up in the middle of the night recently and for some strange reason I could not get it out of my head, how close I came to losing my husband 13 years ago. I remembered how everything could have turned out so incredibly different. I felt as if God was telling me it was the right time for my letter to the editor, 13 years ago, should be shared again.

•••

October 2007

Doctors: Get a second opinion

As this letter is being written, I am sitting in the North Idaho Cancer Center, as my husband begins his first of many chemotherapy treatments.

Approximately 20 months ago, my husband had a colonoscopy, which was performed at his doctor’s office. Afterwards, the doctor reported “Everything is OK, see you in 10 years.”

In July of this year, after feeling poorly since the beginning of the year and passing blood, he had a physical. The blood work reflected he was very anemic. The same physician then ordered another colonoscopy, which was again done at the doctor’s office.

The day of the colonoscopy I went to pick him up and was told by the physician that he could not complete the test. The scope was blocked “due to extreme diverticulitis.” There was no mention of cancer and was told to follow up with his general MD, who practices in the same office, after we returned from a previously scheduled vacation. I questioned if, in fact, we should be leaving. His reply was, “There is no reason you cannot go.”

When we returned from our vacation the decision was made to consult with another physician (whom we had known for years) and who practiced at another office. This doctor read the reports from the previous tests and was concerned with the lack of information. He immediately ordered another colonoscopy, to be performed at the hospital. On Aug. 15, the results revealed a large tumor in the colon and surgery was scheduled.

Mistakes happen BUT after two previous colonoscopies, how could a tumor of this size be missed and originally misdiagnosed? Our current medical team told us, it is apparent this tumor had been growing for three to five years.

Moral of the story:

Beware of medical offices that perform tests of this magnitude “on premises.” Ask yourself, and them, if they are truly qualified to perform and interpret the results of the test.

Listen to your “gut feeling.” When you are still not feeling well, even after you are told you are fine, get a second opinion.

Don’t let this happen to you!

CHERYL A. BOWER

Coeur d’Alene