Another Doctor Screws Up

A friend in Germany had a scare last year - some problems with his lymph nodes and there was major surgery involved. Luckily, all went well and the cancerous growths were removed, but it took him a long time to heal and get back to good health.
When he went back a few months later, he was given a clean bill of health.
So far so good.

Now, a little over a year later he goes for another check up, doctor pulls out x-rays and says, “hmm - do you want to go in for surgery again soon, or wait to see if it gets any worse?”
The friend was obviously more than upset - it had all come back, exactly like before.
He got the x-rays and went home (apparently, getting your x-rays to take home is normal in Germany) and was extremely depressed. He didn’t know if he could take this all again and he broke down in tears.
He then looked at his x-rays.
They were from 2009! (fine print on upper corner)
They were the original x-rays BEFORE his operation.
He called the doctor’s office and they returned his call 6 hours later.
“Yep - those were the wrong x-rays. We called and got the correct version sent over.
All is good. Thanks for the call.”

Needless to say, my friend is both relieved and pissed off.

God damn… I would have been pissed the eff off. But I’m going to try and reason this out, Doctors are human yes? Humans make mistakes yes? so therefore I conclude that this particular doctor is just more prone to mistakes than usual. A bit heartless too, would it have killed him to say sorry?

Turns out people make mistakes. Who knew?

Dammit. If ONLY he had really had cancer! Then he wouldn’t have anything to be pissed off about.

Seriously, though, docs are human and even good docs can make mistakes or have bad outcomes. I once intentionally chose to have surgery with a doc who had had a patient die of a surgical complication. Looking at the whole picture, I knew that this surgeon was still a good surgeon in spite of the mishap, and I also knew that having made the mistake once he would know not to do it again (and sure enough, he was extra cautious in my situation because he didn’t want another problem to occur).
I’ve misread things. I’ve accidentally opened the wrong patient’s chart. Thankfully I realized my mistakes before it made any difference, but I would never judge a doc for making an honest mistake without any malice or negligence intended.

Yes, doctors are only human, but it would have been nice if the OP’s friend had been given a sincere apology.

That was the main reason our friend was so pissed off - the doctor didn’t even call back, it was his assistant and it was like, “Oh. OK then. Never mind. You don’t need surgery again.”

Another point of this post is to make sure that when people do get bad news from a doctor, it never hurts to get a second or third opinion.
My SO would be dead now if we had not done that - one doctor mis-diagnosed him, another diagnosed it correctly but was not up on new techniques and procedures and it was only the third doctor who immediately sent him for new surgery that saved his life.

Of course doctors are human and make mistakes - but when I make a mistake at my job, nobody dies! This is also why doctors get paid more than I do - which is why one expects them to be more careful and diligent.

Just saying - doctors screw up.
Don’t be afraid to get second, third and more opinions before accepting version one.

Historically doctors have been told not to say they’re sorry because it can be construed as an admission of guilt in a lawsuit.

This stance has begun to fall into disfavor lately though.

Doctors told to say sorry to patients more often

Personally, I’d prefer a sincere apology for most incidents.