It is always heartbreaking to me to hear accounts of patients who have told a physician about a medical concern and it was not taken seriously. One patient told a woman physician she was concerned about a lump in her abdomen and the doctor said "It is probably just constipation." No abdominal examination or tests wre done to be sure that was the correct diagnosis. Now a year later the patient has metatastic cancer all through her abdomen and is receiving chemotherapy. Of course, the physician should have done an adequate examination and ordered the necessary tests, but when she did not the patient should have sought another doctor's opinion.
In thinking about her not obtaining a second opinion, I wonder if it was fear or was it denial that something serious was going on? In some cases, It may be for financial reasons, which in this case it was not. I think one of the hard lessons for patients to learn in our present inadequate American medical system is that you often have to be quite aggressive to get good medical care. Accepting less than the best possible care can lead to tragic results.
Many of our medical schools are graduating young doctors with lots of book knowledge, but often little in the way of compassion, the ability to get a good history from a patient, and the tenacity to pursue a problem until a reliable diagnosis is obtained. I am particularly worried about the young women doctors who work jsut a few hours a week, or a day now and then. How can they possibly get to know their patients and take the time to do adequate examinations and follow-ups?