Monday, February 12, 2018

The delayed treatment of swollen shoulder that cost a woman her life


Every one is going to die at some point in life. As a Christian, the bible tells me a man should live for at least 60 years or more before death only if he keeps obeying God’s commandments.

In a medical field, I was taught that a man may reach as long as even 100 years of biological life only if he maintains healthy life style before he dies. But let’s not forget the fact that death happens anytime in life. These two facts from two different aspects always have the very same idea that although death is compulsory at any point in life, but still we have some rules to follow in order to have healthy and longer lives.

As a doctor, my passion is to save people’s biological lives. It always pleases me a lot when I save patient(s) who are on the brink of deaths back to life again. I love being passionate to my patients. Yes I was born for that. But the saddest and frustrating truth is, a doctor can never avoid death, and when it happens, he can’t also overturn death to life. In most cases it hurts me a lot and makes me feel guilty when the patient I serve, lose his or her dear life. Thanks to my mentors, who taught me to accept it when such coincidences occur and take it as part of my job. However in most cases I find it hard to accept it when patients die needlessly before my eyes, especially young ones.

Last two weeks, we lost a young lady Zainab* in very horrible way. It happened because of the delay of her cancer treatment due to what I can say the ignorance of her relatives. I initially had the opportunity to meet this 17-year-old at the end of 2016 when she was brought to the hospital where I am based, for medical check ups after experiencing a little and slowly-growing swelling on her left shoulder.

After doing several medical procedures, including biopsy, it’s when we discovered that, the swelling was linked to cancer. The young lady was recommended to surgery and some few rounds of chemotherapy. With the initial stage of her cancer by then,she stood a very wide chance to be cured only after successful treatment.

When we were initiating for her surgery, the lady disappeared from the hospital and the hospital management wasn’t able to know her whereabouts. After more than a year, she showed up at the hospital again early last month and she looked terrified. The swelling on her shoulder had grown too much compared to the first time she was presented at hospital. Her relatives confessed that they ignorantly opted for traditional treatments with the perception that only traditional treatment could cure her cancer. But things didn’t go their way with Zainab’s condition worsening day by day before they decided to come back to hospital.

At this time, it seemed too late to perform surgery since the swelling had grown way too much that it could cause complications to other internal organs. Zainab lost her life few days before we came with an alternative way to help her.

Zainab’s death is one of those that saddened me a lot in my career. I have been wondering how many patients fall into death traps needlessly due to delayed treatments of their cancers.

In this year, I want to encourage my readers to get regular checkup and successfully attend to particular cancer treatment if diagnosed with any.

*Not real name