In the last century, medical science has made quantum leaps, and ushered us into an age of unparalleled sophistication. Many years ago, simple bacterial infections could be equivalent to a death sentence. The discovery of penicillin and other critical drugs has helped our doctors administer a very high level of medical care. Nearly every malady has a solution, and nearly every patient can now be cured. The operative word in that sentence, however, is “nearly.” While we have indeed come a long way, there is still a great amount of progress to be made. There are still many medical anomalies that we have yet to solve.
At the forefront of modern medical research is cancer. Cancer cells are cells that grow abnormally in the various tissues of the body. In many cases, susceptibility to cancer is determined by genetics; the likelihood of developing the deadly disease is passed down from one generation to the next. While there have been major discoveries regarding cancer treatment, no definitive cure has been found. Treatments, such as chemotherapy, help to fight the disease by killing cancerous cells with radiation.
Because of cancer’s deadly effects and occasionally rapid growth, it is absolutely critical to take note of warning signs and seek attention from doctors early on. If left untreated, cancer can take its toll and leave a person with very little time left to live. This is why it is also important for doctors to correctly and promptly diagnose cancer. Wrong diagnoses can literally cost a patient his or her life.
Several years ago, Patricia Parkinson-Glenn was a lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah. After giving birth to triplets, two of which were diagnosed with autism and cerebral palsy, Patricia was forced to leave work to tend to her children. According to good4utah.com, she visited her doctor to examine a suspicious lump in her breast. Her sister and mother had both been diagnosed with breast cancer within the last six months, and she was concerned that she would develop the disease as well. But Patricia’s doctor diagnosed the golf-ball sized lump as a hematoma, namely a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel.
After taking medication prescribed by her doctor, the hematoma did not go away. She sought a second opinion from a cancer specialist and was shocked at what she was told. The hematoma was actually cancer, and it had spread to both of her breasts. Patricia’s new doctor told her, regrettably, that she would need to get a double mastectomy to prevent further spreading.
Patricia and her family have not yet filed a civil lawsuit for medical malpractice or failure to timely diagnose cancer against her primary care physician. They remain optimistic that they will get past this terrible ordeal.