Chronic pancreatitis. Serious. Poor prognosis. For three distressing weeks I dealt with that diagnosis as I waited and waited for yet another doctor’s office to schedule an appointment.
Aggravated at waiting forever to hear back from the physician to whom I’d been referred, I wrangled a different referral elsewhere. In an effort to be thorough, I picked up disks with all my imaging studies to take to the new doctor.
Before delivering those disks, I popped them into my computer. Not only do the disks contain images, they also contain the radiologist’s reports. At the very top of one is a note that a correction to the report was discussed with the doctor’s PA. The correction? One word was omitted from the original report. It should have read that there is NOT necrosis…
Capital letters. NOT necrosis. Not chronic.
This correction was dated two weeks before the doctor delivered the bad news. He somehow didn’t see the corrected report and didn’t see the PA’s notes in my file. He was too busy typing on his computer to look at me. Apparently he was also too busy to look at all the reports, since the report on the second CT was even clearer.
And I’m wondering. When would I have learned this if I hadn’t looked at those computer disks and opened the radiologist’s reports? What was that doctor thinking? I am so angry that I spent three weeks stressed about this because he didn’t read the reports and so gave me the wrong diagnosis. I understand that mistakes happen sometimes, but this guy just glanced at the initial report and never bothered to read it, never bothered to read the corrected report, and never bothered to so much as glance at scan number two.
While I am dismayed that the wrong diagnosis was delivered, I am relieved to know that I’m not dealing with another chronic condition. Acute is such a nice word.
I saw a second gastroenterologist in a different hospital system. No accusations of being a lush there. Quite the opposite. They read the radiology reports and told me that my case is very normal: 70% of cases of pancreatitis are women with gallstones. That’s not the only contrast in the care they provided. The first GI didn’t even read the reports; this second guy looked at the CT images and tracked down a radiologist for help interpreting them.
The second doctor, who I saw initially the day after I phoned for an appointment last week, is working on fitting me in to get the procedures done next week. Next week! Not next month or the month after. Next week. As a bonus, I don’t have to drive clear to Seattle.