Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Dec 27, 2010

The Cost of Poverty and Ignorance

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:35 am

On 8/20/2010, I went through a patient’s chart and met such a case — a stage IV breast cancer patient, in her 40s. When she was first diagnosed, she was already in this late stage. She felt a mass in her breast long before that, but since she did not have medical insurance, she decided not to see a doctor. When finally she had a chance for a free physical checkup, she related the mass on her breast to the doctor, who immediately asked her to do a biopsy, a thorough workout, then surgery. The workout reveals the cancer has metastasized to liver and brain.

I couldn’t stop thinking and feeling sad long after I closed her chart. I don’t know exactly what went through her head when she waited till the tumor became a palpable mass. Didn’t she understand that mass could kill her? Maybe she didn’t.

That evening I shared it with my daughter, “It is so dreadful to be this poor and ignorant. That’s why people of lower social status have both high morbidity and mortality rate. They cannot afford to seek medical help when they should and they don’t know the risk of delay.”

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