October 10, 2010

Patient Responsibility in Face of Regrettable Medical Aloofness

Posted in ethics tagged , , at 12:59 pm by degyes

Why was Tony Gwynn left to figure out for himself—after 13 years of intermittent treatment—the “possible” connection between his salivary (parotid) gland tumors and his tobacco chewing habit? Granted, he should have known better and quit earlier in the first place, better yet not even have started. Yet I find it shocking and dismaying that it apparently never occurred to his doctors to speak up and warn him off sooner because there are “no studies linking” chaw with this specific type of mouth cancer. Yes, I can acknowledge that perhaps there’s an element of ‘he said / she said’ at play here, but c’mon, his surgeon—and I gather a top one at that—basically admitted this misfeasance (see link, below).

All this talk about medical reform, yet top MDs can be that aloof about something so basic as alerting a mouth tumor patient—before it becomes malignant—about the connection between chewing tobacco and cancer?

See bottom paragraph of this Daily News article; I’m certain there are many similar articles being published today (Sunday, October 10th, 2010).

Praying for Mr. Gwynn’s speedy and complete recovery.