This is the last day of Pinktoberand I want to share with your Chapter 2 of the best friend friendship between Patti Hughes and Patty Avery-Brown.
Patti asked that all of us on Facebook share Patty Avery-Brown’s story. This is a story that needs to go round the world over and over again. It is a story about a missed diagnosis that haunts me. You see Patty Avery-Brown is not the only woman or man this has ever happened to, but she is someone who was deeply loved by a friend of mine and share it I will.
Patti Hughes lost her BFF this summer. Patti did the 3-Day walk this weekend in Tampa. This is how Patti wrote the story this morning on Facebook:
She wanted me to share her story with everyone and I would like you to share her story with everyone, so no one has to go through what she did. As I listened to people talk over the last few days, a lot of people were surprised at how fast her health declined. We now know that the cancer was found in late 2006. Her death could have been prevented if the doctor would have told her that the digitalcomputer scans of her mammogram identified the cancer years ago. All three times that the digital scan identified the cancer, the doctor said they were false positives, but he never shared the information with Patty. Each scan identified an increasing number of “hot spots” for cancer, but the doctor never shared the information with her. We now know the Doctor was the false positive, not the computer scan. Mammograms were preformed 3 different times starting in 2006. The last one was May 2010. All three times Patty received letters telling her that the mammograms were clear and did not identify the cancer. ~ Patti Hughes
Breast cancer usually lights up just like this picture shows.
In my career as an RN I have seen many mistakes – too many mistakes. However this one is without a doubt the worst one ever. I have serious doubts as to the credentials and knowledge of this doctor. One miss is one too many, but three misses? I see this as a physician whose license should be pulled. I fear for other women he has given bad advice to and I have to question. What the Hell was he thinking? When we employ a doctor we need to ask them questions. We deserve to know if they have taken continuing education classes. We need to talk to other people about them (like a nurse) because we nurses always know who the bad apples are in medicine. As an intern I had on my floor said to me one day – “What do they call the medical student who is last in his graduating class? Doctor.”
As I finish my blog today I will leave you with 4 pieces of advice that might save your life.
1. ALWAYS get a copy of your mammogram report. This is NOT the letter from the hospital or center. You want the report from radiology. Google any words you do not understand and go over it with another doctor.
2. If you have a biopsy absolutely get that report too. Ask your surgeon to go over every word in it until you understand it. I have seen errors in the interpretation of path reports.
3. Any time any medical person tells you it is ONLY a false positive in their opinion remember opinions are like a**holes, every one has one. An opinion is not always accurate, and if there is something “going on” get a second, third, fourth opinion if you need to AND maybe a biopsy.
4. Last of all NEVER go more than 3 months between exams for anything – I still hear doctors saying “Come back in 6 mos and we will check it again.” You could be in really big trouble waiting 6 mos. I know women who have had to face horrifying diagnosis waiting 6 months. And NEVER WAIT A DAY if you have what looks like a rash or infection in your breast because that rash or infection could be Inflammatory Breast Cancer and your survival could depend on days not months.
We have to be proactive in our own care. We have to question things and we all have the right to question things. If your doctor gets an attitude for goodness sake, get a new doctor.
Patty Avery-Brown did not have to die. She should not have died. It’s heartbreaking that she did and it is even more heartbreaking that there will be others.
Thank you Patti Hughes for bringing this story to our attention – it will save lives.