Mistakes happen. They can be made in labs. Files can be accidentally switched. MRIs can be misinterpreted. Whatever the reason, facts don’t lie. Medical errors are now listed as the third leading cause of deaths in America after heart disease and cancer. And although it may seem unfathomable, patients may even be purposely misdiagnosed. It is heartbreaking to read about instances in which unsuspecting patients received inappropriate, even unnecessary, chemotherapy and radiation treatments and even unnecessary surgery.
Before you go see another doctor for a second opinion, always be sure to have a copy of your medical records and tests to provide for the new physician, just in case they were not forwarded by your first doctor’s staff. Unfortunately, this omission is a common occurrence and only winds up having you reschedule your appointment to a later date—and the last thing you need is to waste valuable time waiting for another appointment. A 3-ring binder with your medical history is a great thing to carry along with you… just in case. While this may sound like a lot of unnecessary work, I can assure you, it is worth the effort.
When people are first told they have cancer, they feel as though their world has come to an end – believe me, I’ve been there! And while your doctor may pause briefly while you catch your breath, and then continue to tell you more about what type of cancer you have and what the next steps will be in treating it, for most, it’s not an easy speech to follow—let alone comprehend and ask the appropriate questions.