Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Story that Floored Me

A coworker of mine went on a vacation a year ago telling everyone that he would be gone a week so we were all surprised when he showed up on the following Wednesday. After we heard the story, I was floored.

He had taken off early Saturday morning with his family and arrived in North Carolina on Sunday evening. After supper however, he started feeling poorly and his chest began hurting. On Monday morning, it still persisted so he made a doctor's appointment which included some x-rays and culminating in the doctor asking for his wife to come into the patient room so that he could tell both of them together the diagnosis. He knew that couldn't be good.

The doctor said that the x-ray had shown that cancer was scattered clear through his torso and that he probably only had a matter of weeks to live. The doctor advised him to drive back to Iowa immediately to get his affairs in order and to schedule an appointment with his doctor to get on some sort of pain medication. My coworkers and his wife broke the news to their two kids that he was going to die in a matter of weeks and that they needed to drive back home. He didn't say how it went but I imagine it was one of the longest drives he has ever taken. The only good thing was that in the middle of all the tests at the hospital, his pain had disappeared completely.

Back home, his doctor is stunned to hear the news and ordered more x-rays. They came back and the doctor said that my co-worker was completely normal and that there was no sign of any cancer what-so-ever. He theorized that the x-ray machine at the hospital in North Carolina hadn't been working properly and thus the misdiagnosis. Further more, he said that the pain had probably been just the result of a case of indigestion.

7 comments:

Murf said...

It was probably the same x-ray machine that has been used since they were first developed. North Carolina isn't known to be on the forefront of anything other than basketball...oh wait, I shouldn't say that. Sage is from there. ;-)

geri said...

That poor guy must have had all his hair turned grey overnight for nothing.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Ouch, dying is easy, but counting down the seconds to death is painful, what a horrible experience he and his family must have gone through!

Beau said...

My goodness, that's hard to imagine in this day and age. I'm sure they followed up with the previous MD. Just goes to show the value of a second opinion!

R. Sherman said...

I know a similar story here concerning X-ray misreadings. I fear to know how often it does happen.

The good news, I suppose, is that these sorts of mistakes won't happen when the government takes over health care, because bureaucrats are, by definition, infallible.

Oh, and they won't be authorizing any X-rays, anyway, so there won't be any chance of a misdiagnosis.

Cheers.

sage said...

I'm glad I didn't have to have any x-rays when I was home...

Phil said...

Its a miracle!