DIAGNOSIS DANGER!

Don't whitewash patients' problems, top surgeon urges

BY ANIKA RICHARDS
Associate editor — news/health
richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


One of Jamaica's leading surgeons is urging medical practitioners to refrain from whitewashing patients' problems, insisting instead that they conduct detailed investigations before making diagnoses.

Professor Joseph Plummer, who is head of the Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia, and Intensive Care at University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St Andrew, yesterday appealed to his colleagues in the medical field to afford their patients the same treatment as they would wish for themselves.

“The fact of the matter is, there is need for the medical community to be a little bit more aware, in terms of not sparing patients important diagnostics,” Professor Plummer said while speaking to reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

He was part of a panel who visited the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue offices in St Andrew to speak about the Jamaica Cancer Society's major fund-raising event, Relay For Life, which is set for June 1-2 at the University of Technology, Jamaica in St Andrew.

According to the UHWI professor, too often, patients who could benefit from various diagnostic investigations, do not. Instead, Professor Plummer said these patients are treated symptomatically. This, he said, is especially so for people in the more rural parts of Jamaica.

“A classic case is a man who I saw on Saturday, who had bleeding, he is 74 [years old] now,” Professor Plummer said, adding that the patient has been experiencing rectal bleeding since 2017.

“Finally he comes and he has a colonoscopy and there is a large rectal cancer,” Professor Plummer disclosed.

“Sometimes doctors tend to prescribe rather than saying, 'Let us investigate'. And, instead of the patients spending, let's say $50,000, they just spend $5,000, but it is really [doctors] whitewashing the problem.”

The professor said, too, that the common cancers — breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal — are increasing, with the majority of patients, at least 60 per cent, at the time of their diagnosis, being locally advanced or metastatic.

“So either they are incurable or they need relatively expensive chemotherapy to prolong life,” Professor Plummer said.

He has a message for his medical colleagues.

“This is what I teach medical students and residents, and I say, 'Always treat the patients as you would like to be treated', that's how I try to treat my patients. I think if we use that principle, it allows us to make the right decision, most of the times,” Professor Plummer said.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT