Protecting the rights of patients will come from patients first. The more stories patients share of their experiences, the more prepared all patients and prospective patients will be to face their interactions with healthcare providers.
In a support group that I facilitate, we recently were discussing our relationships with our doctors. So many of the women have had bad experiences, especially, with their surgeons. Now, this may be true in all of cancerland, but in the case of ovarian cancer, it is especially true. So many women report that their original diagnosis was put off because of doctors who were not listening to them, or taking their symptoms seriously. Also, many of the doctors did not do the proper testing and/or did not refer to the proper specialist (a gynecologist or gynecologic oncologist).
But even after they were finally diagnosed, their experiences with doctors weren’t always the best. Women have told me over the years that their surgeons (usually gynecologic oncologists) are sometimes very negative and doom and gloom. One woman, Lee, told me her doctor said “You’re like a plane going down”. Several others…
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