Medical question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mstang67chic, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Kind of gross in parts.....fair warning.

    My stepdad is back in the hospital. He was urinating every 5 minutes but his urine was full of blood and clots. Mom took him to the ER and of course he was admitted. The urologist said it was probably either a result of radiation burns from treatments he got a few years ago or cancer. Fortunately (?) it turned out to be radiation related.

    My question though....even though he got radiation treatments for prostate cancer a few years ago, he's had nothing but horrible problems since. They basically cooked him. I understand that with treatments such as radiation there are always risks but as I said, they cooked him. His colon is almost literally fried, he has a colostomy because of it, horrible lesions in his rectum and now his bladder is disentigrating. Does he have ANY legal recourse would you think? He's had no quality of life since his treatments....none. He's either in bed, at the doctor's, in the hospital or occasionally in his recliner. That's pretty much his life. Sometimes he'll feel up to walking outside but that's rare.

    Additionally his regular doctor is quite possibly incompetent and at best, a moron. I told Mom to make a list of her concerns both with the doctor and in general and speak with the patient representative tomorrow. I'm thinking though that surely there's SOMETHING they can do...some sort of recourse.

  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Radiation is pretty harsh on the body, seriously. Unless doctor was certain of a cure, I'd have major issues doing either chemo or radiation, but that's just me.

    He's probably going to need another opinion from another doctor as to what is typical for side effects of the treatment he got and what may be damage done by the treatment. But the treatment is intended to kill all cells. All. Not just cancer cells. (kills all cells at a certain stage) Chemo and radiation both work this way. They usually do it in rounds of treatment to spare as many good cells/tissue as possible and let them regenerate before the next round begins.

    I don't know the skill of the doctor doing treatment. But I do know that there are times when the "cure" can be worse than the disease itself. Did they at least get all the cancer?

    If nothing else, I'd be going to some new docs for 2nd opinions. Maybe there is more than can be done to at least make his quality of life better anyway.
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The best thing you can do is see a medical malpractice attorney. He/she will listen to the facts and tell your dad whether he has a case. They are experts at this and know what standard of care is and what isn't. There should be no charge for the inital visit and if he does have a case it will be taken on a contingency fee basis.

  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Personally, I'd take him for a second opinion. I'd specifically want bladder cancer ruled out.
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    They did the diagnosis today with some sort of scope inside the bladder to look around. But....since it probably WAS caused by still could very well be or turn into cancer.

    I forgot to mention also....they are blaming the "cooking" on the fact that he has two artificial hips. Supposedly there was flashing of some sort and they couldn't line things up right or they exacerbated things or both. Ok fine but if you KNEW the metal would make things worse, wouldn't you lower the radiation or adjust somehow?
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Something seems off with that radiation treatment. My dad has to get his radiation treatment 5 days a week and its a very short process. The first time they set him up they xray'd him to get the exact areas aligned. These are marked with permanent markers. The shoot these with tiny rays. They also do a set of xrays once a week to make sure they are still on target.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Things seem very wrong with the way the radiation was done. I have a friend who does radiation treatments for cancer patients and she trains others to do this type of treatment. The treatment should have been adjusted to take the hips into consideration, including sending the radiation in from a different angle. Accidents happen with any type of treatment, but this seems extreme. She cannot say for certain from a general question, but these should not have happened as side effects.

    As a result of the radiation he now has a colostomy with bag, rectal problems, and now his bladder is "disintegrating"? I have never heard of this as a side effect of radiation treatments. I know my uncle had radiation treatments 6 or 7 years ago for prostate cancer and he has had none of those issues. One family friend had radiation treatments in that general area and had a temp colostomy bag because cancer shredded part of her colon. She had about 4 different areas that were "riddled" with cancer (in her doctor's very scientific wording). These problems were not ones she faced.

    I urge your family to consult a medical malpractice atty about this. If they do nothing else, they need to find new docs. I am sorry he is so sick and will add him to my prayers.

    Gentle hugs.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Stang.........I'd push them to get a 2nd opinion first. Why? Because he needs good medical treatment and law suits can take an enormously long amount of time.

    Radiation is supposed to be precise, and they do use marker to draw exactly where they want the beam to go. doctor should have known he had artificial hips as it would be part of his medical history. If there was any risk of "flash" or whatever that should have been taken into account and the radiation either not done or patient informed of the risk and willing to take it. I'm not an xray tech. I don't know if metal would cause a flash or whatever with the sort of radiation they use for treatment.

    But it's also possible they didn't manage to get all the cancer cells and now they've progressed to the bladder. He needs checked out by a really good doctor.

    That's what I'd do anyway.

  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yeah Im siding with HD. Something really doesnt sound right. Im thinking back to something I read in some waiting room medical magazine. It had to do with prostate cancer and radiation pellets. I would have thought that if radiation beams would have been a worry then they could have used the small pellets.
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I recommended the pellets actually because he was reluctant to have the typical surgery. He didn't want to "pee down his leg" the rest of his life, which, in retrospect, would be nothing compared to what he's going through now. However, they had the same issue with the pellets. They got too much flashing off his hips and couldn't properly map everything out.
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    It doesn't sound right to me. I know of a few gentlemen who have radiation for prostate cancer and don't have any issues once everything has had time to heal.

    Of course, everyone is different and some bodies are more sensitive. I would definitely go for the 2nd opinion.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Definitely second opinion - frankly, aiming for a lawsuit is probably going to be a waste of whatever quality of life and time tat he has left.

    I'm on the incoming side of this, as I'm heading for radiotherapy coming up in another five weeks. So all this worry over side effects doesn't exactly cheer me up!
    However, I have been told my chances of side effects in detail as well as my chances in detail, with and without radiotherapy. So I'm going into this with my eyes wide open, I make the choices and I (at the moment anyway) choose to go ahead. This is informed consent.

    If your father was not fully informed, then what consent he gave was meaningless. On that basis, there would be grounds for lawsuit. Also if the precautions he was told would be made, and the level of care he was assured would be given, did not in fact take place - again, grounds. But even with clear-cut breaches of the duty of care, proving it would be difficult as well as taxing emotionally.

    Definitely time for another medical opinion, and possible several legal ones as well.

  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member dad is having radiation in more the area you are having yours...the chest area. So far, as far as he is letting on to me, he is doing quite well. He has had a bit of problem with swallowing but he has lymph node involvement near his esophagus which could be what is causing that and I dont know if the radiation is causing them to cause the swallowing problems or if the cancer is growing there. I dont know if they arent telling him or he isnt telling me. I am not banking on this working for him because he is losing weight but he doesnt seem to dislike the radiation. He says he goes in daily for all of 15 minutes in and out.
  14. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Marg I don't mean to scare you. I'm pretty sure that over radiated or's related in some way to his hip replacements. What bothers me is that they should have taken that into consideration and I'm not sure they did. Plus...he STILL hasn't been told 3 years later...if he still has cancer or not. I told my mom to at the very least request copies of blood work from the last 3 years. The should at least tell us what his levels are.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    As I was told - they can't tell us things like that because nobody knows.

    My initial reaction to all of tis with me, was "I had cancer, until they took it out."
    Then I was told that now I've had a diagnosis of cancer, I have to consider that it has not been totally removed (regardless of what the surgeon said) but to always consider there could be a cell in there, that my body has to fight. So we can be, say, five years down the track and say, "I do not have a diagnosis of cancer recurrence" but still never know for sure that I'm in the clear.

    Something else they didn't tell me (I don't think) but I already knew - our bodies are throwing possibly cancerous cells, often in our life especially as we get older. Most of them, the vast majority, get recognised by our immune system and blasted out of existence almost as soon as they form, so they're never a problem. The problem comes with the "one that got away". So in effect, all of us are living with cancer, because the risk is never zero for any of us. But if you are healthy, fit and having all your check-ups, then you can be confident that your immune system is doing its job well.

    Stang, with your dad it is quite possible that several things have happened:

    1) they didn't properly inform him, so he was not able to give fully informed consent (surely they would have warned him that his artificial hips would have to be taken into account?)


    2) they didn't know, because it hasn't happened before to anybody so with nothing ever written down about this problem, he is the first ever patient to have these issues (not actionable under Aussie law, anyway)


    3) the information/knowledge was there that they needed to be careful, but they were slack and didn't take the necessary precautions (definitely worth checking, it seems to me this would be actionable because it would have been preventable).

    There are two main issues - foreknowledge (was it there for him, was it there for the doctors?) and the ability to prevent problems (was the hip thing an issue which made treatment unpredictable, and they simply couldn't prevent the overburn effect but it still meant that treatment was the option likely to give him the best chance even so).

    So IF they knew it was going to be a problem, IF they could have been more careful, IF they warned him adequately - a lot of ifs which need to be nailed down so you know exactly where you are with them.

    Don't worry about 'spooking' me with regard to my own impending radiotherapy. They've been good about giving me full disclosure (as far as I can ascertain). I've been warned of a few possibly nasty problems and I still can pull the plug on it. I could, if I choose, go back to the surgeon and say, "OK, take the whole thing. That negates my need for any radiotherapy. And while I'm under anaesthetic, give me a tummy tuck at the same time and stash it where my boob used to be."
    That would give me a tummy tuck, a boob job and a pass on the radiation treatment, all in one go. It is tempting. But then - the surgery carries its own risks, of infection as well as the anaesthetic.

    Janet, your dad's radiation could be deliberately aiming at the lymph glands too (mine won't be, because they were clear). The side effects you describe are ones I was warned about, even though they're not aiming at my lymph glands there will be some spillover. I already have some swallowing problems at times, I really don't want more. But if I accept the treatment, I have to take whatever happens.

    All this discussion isn't causing me any anxiety - actually, it's helping me give more considered thought to the full range of my options. In my life I've had some medical/health industry training, so I'm fairly laid back about it all.

  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh we know they are aiming at my dads lymph nodes because he has cancer cells there. All his cancer is inoperable because of location.