Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

One Lucky Canadian

Today an elderly physician friend of mine woke up with some very mild abdominal pain. He is a stoic man, and never complains about anything – not even the pain associated with a dislocated/shattered hip and multiple bone fractures from a car accident (he was very nonchalant about that event 2 years ago).

So when I heard that he was going to see a doctor about his belly pain – I knew that something serious was afoot. His doctor ordered an abdominal x-ray series, noted a tumor, and sent him to the O.R. within the hour.

In the O.R. the surgeons found a perforated colon (it must have ruptured minutes to an hour or two prior) without signs of peritonitis. There was a cancerous mass (without metastases) that they were able to remove completely. They washed his peritoneal cavity extensively to remove all fecal matter and potential cancer cells and transferred him to the ICU for observation overnight and IV antibiotics.

So far it seems that my friend will make a full recovery – and there is no evidence of remaining cancer, though we’ll need to be vigilant with follow up.

I can’t get over how lucky he was to have discovered the perforated colon within hours of it occurring, that the surgeons took care of him immediately, and that the cancer seems to have been contained and removed. I don’t know if his “luck” was partially due to his physician’s intuition about his own body, professional courtesy extended to him by peers, or that the Canadian healthcare system is not as burdened in his part of the country (Nova Scotia) as it is in others where there may be longer wait times.

All I can say is that my friend is one lucky Canadian!

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »

Commented - Most Popular Articles