Tag Archives: Dr. Wendy Levinson

When doctors can’t say: “I don’t know”

3 Jan

Mimi and Euniceby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Pity the poor Emergency Department physician who first studied the results of my cardiac diagnostic tests. Despite my textbook heart attack symptoms of central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm, all of my test results that day appeared to be “normal”. So instead of admitting this puzzling discrepancy, the doc seized upon an alternative hypothesis as he pronounced confidently to me:

“You are in the right demographic for acid reflux!”

I was sent home from hospital that morning (feeling very embarrassed about having made a fuss over nothing) with his directions to make a follow-up appointment with my family physician to discuss what turned out to be a misdiagnosis of indigestion.

Part of the problem with this scenario is the reluctance of some physicians to admit that they just do not know. Continue reading

Say what? Do patients really hear what doctors tell them?

23 Sep

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

When I had a heart attack in 2008, I was taken immediately from the E.R. to the O.R. for emergency treatment for a left anterior descending coronary artery that turned out to be 95% blocked.  But, overwhelmed and terrified, I knew nothing of what was about to happen to me, even though I have a vague memory of the cardiologist explaining something to me before I was taken upstairs. I could see his lips moving and I could hear sounds coming out of his mouth, but he could have been speaking Swahili.  I don’t think I was capable of comprehension at the time. Everything I know about surviving what’s known as the “widowmaker” heart attack, I learned much, much later.

I’m not alone. A new study suggests that heart patients believe that their cardiac interventions have far greater benefits than they actually do. Continue reading