Dear God!

So my aunt, age 94 (??), being treated for a little lung goop with meds. (No such thing as “little” at that age.) Apparently it’s getting better but not 100%. She goes to see a doc and he says she’ll need surgery. (Big deal for any of us, VERY big deal at her age.) She insists on X-rays first. X-rays performed. She goes back to doc, asks if she needs surgery. His answer: No.

Why the hell did he quick trigger on a major diagnosis for a 94-year-old w/o “simple” evidence? Bastard!

Same aunt, some joint trouble. (Ain’t it true of all of us post-55.) Referred to physical therapist. Referring doc says she’ll need to stay in med facility for several days, not return to her small condo in assisted living center. She sees therapist, asks why she can’t go home, describes her place in great detail. He says, “Of course you can go home.”

What I’ve just described is inexcusable medical practice, especially for a 90+ patient, where odds of problems from surgery or significant in-patient stay are sky high; hence one should be twice as careful in making diagnosis.

Classic-garden variety outcome where overtreatment would most likely have been the result if she’d not been at the top of her game. Most, half her age, wouldn’t have made the enquiries she made.

Alas, health reform package barely touches on this.

Tom Peters posted this on December 17, 2009, in Healthcare.
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