Case Study | 3. Give a Man a Hammer, and Everything Becomes a Nail
I discuss the case of a young woman to illustrate the tendency of the modern medical paradigm to over-diagnose and over-treat what it believes to be "cancer."
When diseases are mis-diagnosed, the treatment can only be harmful. In part, this is due to the invasive and disruptive nature of what we call “treatments” in modern medicine.
Depending on the diagnosis, the treatment can be devastating. Even fatal.
I have worked at virtually every tier of “quality” healthcare. Community hospitals in high-crime urban environments, as well as the top tertiary referral centers in North America.
As bad as it sounds, we tolerate sub-standard care in environments that have been ignored or abandoned. Environments that require a certain social bond to entice would-be doctors to practice there. Truthfully, there are doctors like that. That is, doctors who choose to practice in more chaotic and sub-standard environments, so that they can give back to the local community from which they rose.
However, to see sub-standard care in coveted and overfunded international referral centers is somewhat disconcerting. To some extent, this is inevitable. The question is, to what degree is this acceptable?
Anecdotally, I have seen enough instances to believe that there is a fundamental problem. I will use one case to illustrate what I mean.
Here, I will discuss the case of a young woman in her early 20s who was brought to our hospital because she had new onset focal neurological deficits.
Upon arrival, she was diagnosed with brain cancer and swiftly treated as such.
However, all the evidence obtained since the surgery indicates that she did not have cancer.
Let’s dive in.