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Teen Diagnoses Her Own Disease In Science Class

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the be-you-own-best-diagnostician dept.

Medicine 582

18-year-old Jessica Terry suffered from stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever for eight years. She often missed school and her doctors were unable to figure out the cause of her sickness. Then one day in January someone was finally figured out what was wrong with Jessica. That person was her. While looking under a microscope at slides of her own intestinal tissue in her AP science class, Jessica noticed an area of inflamed tissue called a granuloma, which is an indication of Crohn's disease. "It's weird I had to solve my own medical problem," Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO in Seattle, Washington. "There were just no answers anywhere. ... I was always sick."

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582 comments

Was she the.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28305903)

...FIRST person do this?

Engrish? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28305907)

Then one day in January someone was finally figured out what was wrong with Jessica.

I suspect I may have Multiple Personality Disorder (5, Funny)

Klistvud (1574615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305925)

...but can't really say which of the multiple personalities established the diagnose. Does this still count as "self-diagnose"?

Re:I suspect I may have Multiple Personality Disor (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306103)

It only counts as self-diagnosis when one of your personalities is biopsying your brain tissue. Let us know how that works out for you.

Surprised? (4, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305927)

Crohn's disease is pretty common, so how come it wasn't diagnosed? The idiot medicos just pocketed the money for tests, hospital stays, appointments, medical certs etc for 8 years while the girl suffered? Hmmm. Come to think of it I'm not that surprised. There are far more quacks out there than decent doctors in my experience.

Re:Surprised? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28305977)

Wow. Awesome medical system you guys have over there.

Re:Surprised? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306005)

It's called capitalism. Ain't got cash? Well we ain't got the answer. Gotta love it. Survival of the richest, litteraly. How did this benefit mankind?

it's called evolution... (4, Funny)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306081)

survival of the richest means those with the ability to earn more could reproduce more and dominate the gene pool.
- except they don't
for questions-- see the first 15 minutes of "idiocracy"

Re:it's called evolution... (4, Interesting)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306499)

There is a flaw in your reasoning... Having lots of money does not mean you have the -skill- to make money, nor does it mean you are smart or even particularly skilled. See "trust fund babies".

Re:Surprised? (4, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306145)

It's called capitalism. Ain't got cash? Well we ain't got the answer. Gotta love it. Survival of the richest, litteraly. How did this benefit mankind?

Then Louisiana must not be capitalist...

My (self-employed, no insurance) sister was pretty rapidly diagnosed with Crohn's more than 10 years ago.

Maybe it's just that doctors suck in Washington.

Re:Surprised? (0, Troll)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306015)

It isn't much better here in Europe.

Re:Surprised? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306049)

I have yet to hear about an 18-year-old european that had to diagnose her/himself. I don't know what that proves. I'm just saying.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306089)

I'm fairly sure that in the recent history of mankind there has been at least one other American person who has diagnosed themself, and at least two European people who have diagnosed themselves. Even if these may or may not have been in the global media. Just saying.

Re:Surprised? (3, Insightful)

alexhard (778254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306317)

I think it proves that the news outlets in Europe aren't having as many slow news days.

Re:Surprised? (-1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306437)

I have yet to hear about an 18-year-old european that had to diagnose her/himself. I don't know what that proves. I'm just saying.

I've yet to hear about an 18-year-old European who is capable of diagnosing her/himself. I'm pretty impressed with what this girl did and the system that made it possibe.

It's true that health care insurance is generally much better in Europe than in the US, but I'm not entirely convinced the same is always true for the health care itself. Some time ago, Netherland had a problem with ridiculously long waiting lists for health care, with people dying on the waiting list for treatment that was technically and financially possible, but there just was no time.

Re:Surprised? (4, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305999)

I've been struggling with lactose intolerance for a similar period of time and also had similar, unsatisfactory, experiences with doctors.

The one to diagnose it, finally, was me with a little help from Dr. Google.

My wife has made similar experiences with gynaecologists. Some were actually telling her that the pill had no side-effects. Unbelievable, really.
Also, some doctors she consulted and whom prescribed drugs would say that said drugs did not interfere with the pill, when, clearly stated in the package insert, they did.

Re:Surprised? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306421)

Lactose intolerance? Welcome to the human kind and stop drinking milk as if you were a little kid or some sort of Aryan overlord you are not.

Re:Surprised? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306039)

Meh, I had to diagnose myself as well (Addison's disease) after 5 year of suffering... Constant low blood pressure, hyperkalemia and hypoglycemia, and no doctor ever even thought like "hey, maybe we should do some more tests". I had to friggin ask to test my cortisone levels, they didn't even bother.
"Yeah well, normal blood tests don't show nothing special, except those potassium and sugar values, but that's nothing to worry about." Not even when those values (elevated/reducted/...) were the same 5 years in a row.

Really, I've kinda lost my faith in the diagnostic abilities of a lot of doctors

Re:Surprised? (5, Insightful)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306203)

Crohn's disease is pretty common, so how come it wasn't diagnosed? The idiot medicos just pocketed the money for tests, hospital stays, appointments, medical certs etc for 8 years while the girl suffered? Hmmm. Come to think of it I'm not that surprised. There are far more quacks out there than decent doctors in my experience.

Well, Wikipedia can be suspect at times, but here's what it says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crohn%27s_disease#Symptoms):

Many people with Crohn's disease have symptoms for years prior to the diagnosis.[12] The usual onset is between 15 and 30 years of age but can occur at any age.[13] Because of the 'patchy' nature of the gastrointestinal disease and the depth of tissue involvement, initial symptoms can be more vague than with ulcerative colitis. People with Crohn's disease will go through periods of flare-ups and remission.

Really sounds to me like a combo of on-again off-again symptoms and symptoms that are fairly generic (i.e., shared w/ lots of conditions) than doctors and labs trying to squeeze ever last buck out of someone and their insurance. Now, if there is a problem if the first thing they do is run expensive tests for exotic diseases or something like that. I mean, a responsible physician would consider the a priori odds of each condition. And while I'm sure there are plenty of "quacks" out there, I'm not sure that's the first conclusion I would reach for in this particular case.

Hmm (5, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305929)

Interesting: while reading about her symptoms, Crohn's Disease was the first think that came to my mind. And no, I'm not a doctor. So what kind of doctors were seeing her? Veterinary ones?

Re:Hmm (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305993)

I don't know, I used to suffer from the exact same symptoms during my years at university living on curry and cheap lager. Bad eating habits is the first thing that came to my mind personally.

Re:Hmm (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306023)

Yes, it can easily be something else, but having the same symptoms for EIGHT freaking years and not making a simple test that could confirm or discard a so relatively common disease as Crohns... That makes me wonder.

Re:Hmm (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306009)

Yes, the "for eight years" is a giveaway... And yes, i am a doctor... Though an *european* one...

Re:Hmm (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306141)

Interesting: while reading about her symptoms, Crohn's Disease was the first think that came to my mind. And no, I'm not a doctor. So what kind of doctors were seeing her? Veterinary ones?

Without an AP science class, it took me 45 years to get a diagnosis for Chrohn's/Colitis.

Yes, many if not most doctors are that worthless.

Re:Hmm (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306455)

So what kind of doctors were seeing her? Veterinary ones?

Unlikely; they'd probably have diagnosed it quickly. Vets have to have experience with a number of species and with patients who can't describe their symptoms. It used to be the case (not sure if it still is) that vets were allowed to practice as doctors without additional certification, while the reverse was not true due to the extra breadth of their training.

Health Care (5, Funny)

schmaustech (766915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305935)

The story points out how our health care system is like the Geek Squad: poor troubleshooting. In the end the client has to figure out their problem.

Re:Health Care (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306369)

The story points out how our health care system is like the Geek Squad: poor troubleshooting. In the end the client has to figure out their problem.

Well, I wouldn't trust any of my systems, electronic or biological, to a group of people primarily employed to bite the heads off chickens.

Re:Health Care (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306389)

The health system is more like a bunch of teenagers: quickly moving from one medical fad to another. Then convincing the customer to pay money for whatever "cure" or "supplement" which the doctor can get a kickback^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcommission. I really hate having to argue with the doctor to tell him I am not interested in his latest fund raising scheme. And, I have tried other doctors.

Re:Health Care (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306475)

The story points out how our health care system is like the Geek Squad: poor troubleshooting. In the end the client has to figure out their problem.

"I've got a brainsplitting headache"
"Have you tried switching it off and on again?"

Maybe an old Crohn's disease (4, Interesting)

AussieSlasher (1571731) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305937)

I thought this was a joke when I first read it. Crohn's disease is actually quite a common ailment so I cant believe no doctor diagnosed this. Where did she get a sample of her own intestinal tissue? I mean seriously...

So what (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305941)

I diagnoezd my own disleksya at skool yeers ago. Since zen I'v goten a lott beter.

Re:So what (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306067)

I diagnoezd my own disleksya at skool yeers ago. Since zen I'v goten a lott beter.

Ha ha, yu rote "dysleksia" uith teh "i" frist!

Yur dumb.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306075)

I used to enjoy reading before I got the downs.

Re:So what (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306167)

As I always tell others:

I put the sex in dyslexia!

Re:So what (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306257)

That's not funny. My brother died from dyslexia.

They couldn't diagnose her? (4, Insightful)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305943)

For eight years her doctors were unable to diagnose Crohn's Disease? Shit, that's appalling. It's not exactly an obscure condition requiring House MD's staggering intellect, is it? It's been known about for at least a century, and while it's known to be difficult to diagnose with certainty, you'd think someone would have considered it...
Still, kudos to her.

Where did she get the intestinal tissue? (3, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305951)

While looking under a microscope at slides of her own intestinal tissue in her AP science class

Re:Where did she get the intestinal tissue? (2, Informative)

filtersweep (415712) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305971)

Either a fecal smear, or from her own testing at the doctor. You decide.

Re:Where did she get the intestinal tissue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306021)

Either a fecal smear, or from her own testing at the doctor. You decide.

Okay everybody, look the other way while I prepare my slide!

Re:Where did she get the intestinal tissue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28305991)

Foreign lab objects in the ass?

Re:Where did she get the intestinal tissue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306029)

From her hamster.

The article says they had been taken for pathology (5, Informative)

Cougem (734635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306187)

She obviously just requested her own tissues, RTFA

"she was looking under the microscope at slides of her own intestinal tissue -- slides her pathologist had said were completely normal"

Re:The article says they had been taken for pathol (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306371)

WTF!? Her symptoms, along with the EIGHT YEARS part had me thinking "Crohn's?" before I even finished the summary. And here are doctors, that had tissue samples, that couldn't diagnose it? The girl gets kudos, but the doctors should turn in their license before they end up in a malpractice suit... Granted, there are half a million conditions that could match those simple symptoms, but Crohn's should have been high on the suspicion list after 2 years and conditions didn't appear to get better. And yet they had tissue samples and STILL couldn't figure it out!? Was she outsourcing her medical advice to a call center in India or something!?

But now that she HAS figured it out... here's to hoping she lives in a compassionate state that allows medical marijuana. Otherwise she'll be stuck with the same incompetent doctors that will have nothing else to do but prescribe her drugs that will practically leave her nonfunctional, and will occasionally perform surgery when the going gets bad, despite the medication.

How is it possible? (0, Redundant)

adokink (1094097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305961)

The only news here is that until her age nobody had imagined it was Crohn's disease. It is a pretty common disease!

Re:How is it possible? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306031)

The only news here is that until her age nobody had imagined it was Crohn's disease. It is a pretty common disease!

Yeah it happens. My 14 year old nephew has fungal meningitis. You expect that to happen if you have a suppressed immune system due to age or disease. In his case there just isn't a reason.

Hmm... pretty self-evident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28305965)

Having ulcerative colitis and having had had my colon removed due to colon cancer which was caused by it, I could have told her without even looking at the microscope that she had either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's. I don't know what makes it so incredibly hard for doctors to diagnose. In my case I had symptoms for about 6 months before I realized that I must have either one. From this point on it took 4 different doctors before they could tell what it was. The first 3 were just incompetent morons thinking that "hey, I don't see any hemorrhoids in your ass, but you're bleeding from your ass, so it has to be hemorrhoids!".

In my case I had my samples misdiagnosed by the first pathologist, but pressed my doctor to send them to another one. He immediately recognized what it was and even told my I had developed dysplasia which later developed to cancer. Way to go doctors!

Science, is that what medicine doctors lacks off? (1, Interesting)

La Gris (531858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305969)

Do doctors only rely on pre-mashed medical condition patterns as a rotting knowledge to help patients?

I often wondered how it look like so difficult as a patient to get proper diagnosis and treatment most of the time. And this look so weired from a computer literate point of view.

At some point, animals tend to get better medicine.

Perhaps patients would benefit better treatments if doctors practiced more science than magic art.

Re:Science, is that what medicine doctors lacks of (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306153)

When my son was young he would get infections from time to time. Some doctors and nurses would tell us that panadol is a good way to get his temperature down, others would say that panadol can't do that. Seems like a pretty easy thing to test to me.

Years ago when I developed knee problems from cycling I took it to several doctors. One doctor who claimed to be a sports injury specialist told me to put a bandage on it and it should be okay. Eventually I went to a bike shop which caters to the racing crowd. They do a lot of static training there after hours. I paid them to fit my bike to me and bought extra gear to get the fit right. The owner recommended an osteopath he knew who rides bikes and understands the issues. The combination of the two fixed the problem. Doctors were worse than useless.

The fresh pair of eyes have it (5, Insightful)

richardcavell (694686) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305973)

The original CNN story mentions that sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can spot something that the first pair didn't see. Coders and authors will be familiar with the idea. Sometimes you've looked over something and worked on it so much that you can no longer analyse it from the beginning, and it takes someone else to verify one's work. That's why nurses aren't allowed to dispense medicine unless they get another nurse to check that they have selected the right medicine and the right dose and the right patient. Also, the fact that this patient had a vested interest in making the diagnosis means that she would have examined the slide thoroughly. (Doctor) Richard Cavell

Re:The fresh pair of eyes have it (5, Insightful)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306267)

Also, the fact that this patient had a vested interest in making the diagnosis means that she would have examined the slide thoroughly. (Doctor) Richard Cavell

That's what I would expect from my doctors!!!

Re:The fresh pair of eyes have it (0, Troll)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306457)

Dr Cavell -- the Slashot OSS doctor.
Do you have a CVS where I can upload by medical records and lab samples for a second opinion? Has anyone seen a Subversion plugin for lab samples?

wtf? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28305975)

8 years of the disease? And diagnosed by an 18 year old with a school microscope?
Damn, shouldn't she be able to sue the doctors that had no clue how to diagnose her?

Wow. (1, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305983)

That it took them eight years to (fail to) diagnose something like this almost sounds like malpractice.

Get a new doctor, kid, you deserve better.

I wonder... (4, Funny)

teh.f4ll3n (1351611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28305995)

... if she now gets sued for "stealing" from "Private Doctor Association of America" (I'm sure there is one) by diagnosing her own self and not by paying a doctor to do it? Even though she did visit a pathologist.

What did they think it was? (5, Informative)

Chysn (898420) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306013)

If you go to "My Electronic MD (dot com)", tell it you're a female, and give it the symptoms "chronic diarrhea" and "fever," Crohn's Disease is the first of three things to pop up, along with Ulcerative Colitis and Infectious Colitis.

Of course, anyone can diagnose him or herself with a computer. It's encouraging that this young woman did it with a microscope.

Medical Community (1)

gte275e (91656) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306017)

I have a lot of friends that have Celiac's disease, IBS, and/or Crohn's disease and the lack of medical personnel that know about these diseases is stunning. Especially Celiac's disease. It's an issue and as the prominence of these illnesses increases, more medical personnel will be educated about them which is good but right now, people with real issues, pain, and discomfort will continue to be misdiagnosed. I have one friend that found the 1 doctor in town that actually knew about Celiac's and another friend whose wife is having severe GI issues and the doctor has never even heard of Celiac's. It's a problem and we have to rely on the doctors to have the initiative to stay up to date on the current medical research.

Not quite as easy as it seems (5, Informative)

Cougem (734635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306037)

In a year's time I will be a doctor, and have just spent a year learning about pathology, so I thought I'd put my view forward. The interesting thing about Crohn's disease, in contrast to the other big type of inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative colitis) is that it is characterised by skip lesions. The disease is not confluent over the entire gut, in fact it can be anywhere from mouth to anus, in small patches. Now do you start to see why a pathologist may miss it? They will have taken many specimens from the girl's GI tract, and if this is the only sample with a granuloma, then it's not too unforgiveable that a patch of cells only around 30 cells-wide [pathguy.com] is miss. Yes, it sucks, but pathology is actually a fairly bloody hard speciality, with an very vigorous set of examinations [rcpath.org], at least in the UK, so don't imply that these pathologists don't know what Crohn's is. Life isn't black and white, and medicine is just the same.

Maybe you guys instantly thought Crohn's, but there are plenty of other rarer diseases it could have been. Without a positive biopsy it would have been incredibly immoral to slap a Crohn's diagnosis on this girl and medicated her for it. It would have proved interesting were she have had say tropic sprue [wikipedia.org] and you were to treat her with the immunosupressants.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (2, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306101)

Here's what I'm thinking probably happened. She probably was taken to a doctor a few times when it first happened years ago, and it was attributed to something she ate, stress, etc. So the doctor(s) probably didn't order any kind of tests done. Then, after a while, she just stopped going until it was really bad, because her parents figured it was the same thing as before, so why bother paying a doctor. I would think that any doctor that saw her more than a few times would send her to a specialist to get a colonoscopy and some labs. Maybe her parents figured it was too expensive, and since this might have happened every 6-18 months, they just passed it off and figured they could deal with it at home. I'm suspecting there is some more to this story that isn't being told and I have a really hard time believing that the medical community would miss something like this for so long if the patient and the parents were doing their part. Or maybe I'm giving doctor's too much credit. I think it's probably a combination of both, coupled with CNN wanting to paint the picture of the "little guy" doing something that the "big guy" was unable to do. People love stories like that.....

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306201)

If your hypothesis is even remotely like what happened that's a rather interesting commentary on society. You see, many people have developed this attitude that you should never go to the doctor. It's not explicit. They implicitly avoid the doctor's because you have to stay healthy. In America diagnosis equals sick. So as long as you are undiagnosed you are "healthy" and can get health coverage. Should you get diagnosed as sick or with a persistent disease you will be harder to insure and have periods of your life as you move around the US or change jobs where you are not covered by health insurance. That's because pre-existing conditions are often not covered by US insurance so that means ... you can't have any problems for the first few months that you are at a new company.

Even though its supposed to be illegal employers can identify who has a pre-existing condition and encourage those people to leave the company to increase the company's overall healthiness and lower its bills. Small cumulative effects like that build up in people's decisions. Having a persistent condition that requires treatment means you life will be more expensive and troubled.

So our girl with the microscope just ensured she will be harder to employ, have a harder time keeping a job, and will pay more for all forms of insurance for the rest of her life. I could imagine that perhaps someone was trying to protect her from all that.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (1)

Dravik (699631) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306231)

Your leaving out the other extreme. The parents did there part, but the doctor didn't listen to the patient. After all, they aren't doctors and patients can't be trusted. When they tried to shop around for other opinions they didn't get a serious look since a doctor had already written it off as nothing.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (1)

BarMonger (884208) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306197)

Someone should mod this guy up.

It's very easy for all of us armchair doctors to make a hindsight diagnosis of the illness.
She most likely visited a number of skilled professionals but was very unfortunate with their diagnosis. This stuff happens now and then, people make mistakes.

It's just unfortunate that no one cares about a story on doctors who diagnose their patients correctly.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (4, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306211)

Reading the article, it says that she was looking at the exact slides that the doctors said were normal:
"...slides her pathologist had said were completely normal..."

So to me it sounds like the doctors missed it if she could find it on those slides.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (2, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306239)

I think the writer of the article took some liberties there. These are the "same" slides, in the way that they are slides of her GI tract, not that they were the actual exact same physical slides.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (4, Interesting)

Cougem (734635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306245)

Yes, I've acknowledged that - as I said the pathologist will have been presented with many many samples, turned into slides, looking for a few, if any, granulomata, which are tiny in size. I even said "Now do you start to see why a pathologist may miss it?" It is very hard, if not impossible, to scan every single slide in its entirity, for a granuloma. Fortunately this girl found it, when the pathologist didn't. Props to her,

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306331)

BULLSHIT!

First, the kid was sick for 8 YEARS. I think 8 years is [explicit language omited] long enough to scan each and every slide a thusand times for every possible form of granulomata.

Second, how many slides could there that makes it "impossible" to scan them? Why the [explicit language omited] ask fo so many specimens if they are of no use? Or, maybe, it's that it's impossible to do between golf games?

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306463)

It is very hard, if not impossible, to scan every single slide in its entirity, for a granuloma.

Right, except that that's your fucking job, genius. What do you think they're paying you for, the calm and reassuring voice?

The girl found the granuloma because she was scanning the slides as if someone's actual health were at stake, rather than, as if it were something keeping her off the golf course.

I'd have sympathy except that this matches the experience of every doctor I've had, like a neurologist who can't be bothered to tell the nurse the right medications I'm supposed to be on (this was a few years ago, thanks for asking) and so a pharmacist has to catch the dangerous drug interaction.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306217)

Life isn't black and white

Unless you suffer from a severe case of color blindness.

Or you're blind and have an electronic vision implant.

Or you're not human but a member of some creature that only sees the presence or absence of light.

Or you're a radical fanboy of a certain game, fruit of the forbidden union of Populous and a Tamagochi.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306315)

Of course, the pathology report was just one part of an 8 year long search for a diagnosis. Crohn's does immediately spring to mind, and there are ways to confirm or deny the diagnosis so it wouldn't be a matter of treating blindly. It's hard to believe it took the better part of 7 years for a doctor to even think of looking for Crohn's.

Re:Not quite as easy as it seems (2, Informative)

Cougem (734635) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306339)

I'm sorry, where's the evidence saying it took 7 years to look for Crohn's? These slides may have been taken years ago. Really you do need endoscopy with bopsy, which this girl had and unfortunately came back negative. Whilst radiographs like CTs etc. and barium enemas/swallows can show lesions, this is only really with small bowel involvement leading to strictures, which she may well not have had. There are no specific antibodies like you get with Coeliac's diseases (anti-gliadin/anti-endomysial), and whilst you might get inflammatory markers like CRP/ESR raised in the blood, or leukocytes etc. in the faeces, these aren't remotely remotely specific for Crohn's, and would be expected in most GI pathology.

this is poverty of health. (1, Interesting)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306051)

this is what u get without basic health care, it's not something to marvel at it's something to cry about. it's sad that people can't just goto a doctor at a young age and just get better.

Do it your selfers (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306055)

well its a lot cheaper than going to a doctor. besides if that was crone's wouldn't she have an ulcer if that was going on for 8 years?

One more such case,...me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306059)

I went to the doctor to report that morning it felt like al my organs were about to exit my body through my trachea. A second later I had felt my heart beat its last beat, just one weird panicking last beat. I also told her I lost control over my body at that time as if I had been paralyzed. She send me home not to worry, that I was perfectly fine. Five years later I felt weak and went to the hospital. A team of specialists concluded I was in bad shape but had to learn to live with that, there was no conclusive diagnosis. The next hospital reached the conclusion I was partially paralyzed and nothing could be done. It was only when a young medical student gave me her access code to PubMed that I learned my diafragm was ruptured and could be sewed together again. Never having had any medical schooling but with a little engineering background I made some changes to the protocol for the operation resulting in a much better quality of life than what would be possible with the protocol that had been used so far.

Re:One more such case,...me (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306119)

Never having had any medical schooling but with a little engineering background I made some changes to the protocol for the operation

Sentences like this usually have "duct tape" somewhere in them.

Re:One more such case,...me (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306269)

Not exactly. My stomach had been flipped from my belly into my chest. There it had crumbled my left lung and pushed aside my heart. What I did was losing some weight and the extra room it gave helped me use my right lung to pump up my left lung again. (capping my nose). Not only did new air get into my left lung, also blood started to flow better resulting in a very noticeble drop in blood tension. The bigger lung pushed my stomach back to my belly. Which by the way is an enormous sickening feeling that lasted about six hours. New MRI scans proved it worked leaving the specialists more than amazed any patient would do this at home without prior consulting. Anyway, the operation to stitch everything togeter went fine, and they wrote a report on it in a medical magazine.

Re:One more such case,...me (2, Interesting)

Viridae (1472035) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306311)

Pubmed is free access? I am a scientist (cancer research to be specific). One of the students in the lab I work in got a chemical splashed into her eye. She was taken to emergency and there she was treated by a doctor who raved about this fantastic website he had found that would tell him what effect the chemical would have on the eye. Turned out that website was pubmed. You can possibly only appreciate the hilarity of that if you are in bio science. But for you non-bioscience people: pubmed is the single most used literature database. And this doctor thought he was very special for discovering it.

Mmh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306085)

I'd thought that it's a lupus...

Not the last one (3, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306097)

With the developing of technology and Internet more and more people can diagnose their problems quicker.

When I was bitten by a tick I diagnosed borreliosis before going to the doctor, by just browsing the Internet. When I visited the doctor I already knew everything I had to do to cure it, still it was nice to get a professional confirmation.

Get used to it, the more you know, the better you can help yourself.

Re:Not the last one (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306139)

Though it is good to be read up on different things, I'd say that sometimes reading the medical information without the proper education can lead to some problems. The big problem is when an untrained person does a self-diagnosis, goes to the doctor, the doctor tells them what they have and it is different from the self-diagnosis, and they believe their own diagnosis over the doctor's. Are there times where the doctor is wrong and the patient correct? Sure, but I'd be willing to bet that the opposite happens quite a bit more. As long as you go into your appointment with an open mind and not fixated on what you think you might have, then that's fine.

She should sue her doctors then! (1)

kyriacos (1374383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306115)

Maybe that will teach them to take their patients more seriously.

Re:She should sue her doctors then! (1, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306255)

Yes, that's just what our country needs. Sue for millions, and raise the price of medical care for the rest of us so she can be a millionaire. Everyone should do that!

Not weird at all (2, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306133)

I live in Australia. Not a 3rd world country, or so we like to think. The standard of medical care here has been on the decline for a long time. I have seen some of it first hand. I won't repeat my first hand accounts here again because the last time I did I got called a liar.

That's not to say there are no good doctors and that no one cares. They're just few and far between working under a system starved of resources. Wose, the medical profession tends to work against the patient - if you self diagnose you're thought of as a crackpot. As if giving a damn about your own well being makes you a hypochondriac. I fear it's only going to get worse.

This does not surprise me at all. (5, Insightful)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306149)

When my daughter first started school - many years ago - she caught impetigo. Now, I had had impetigo as a child myself, but I had completely forgotten the symptoms. All I knew was that my daughter had acquired some kind of skin disease, and that it was spreading.

I took her to our local GP who actually admitted that he didn't know what it was, BUT STIIL PRESCRIBED a topical steroidal cream (which did absolutely nothing to cure the problem). A week later, with even more spreading, I returned to the same doctor, and he again admitted he didn't know what it was, and this time prescribed some kind of internal anti-biotic. At that point I asked him, If you don't know what it is, WTF are you doing prescribing medication, and why don't you recommend a specialist. At which point I took my daughter by the hand and walked out the door.

The next morning I was sitting in another GPs office, waiting for him to arrive, and as he walked in the door, he took one look at my daughter, whom he had never met before, and said, "Oh, you poor little girl, you've got impetigo, well, let's get you looked at, and we get that cleared up in a jiffy."

Moral of the story: most diseases are actually well known - if you find a competent doctor. Unfortunately, most doctors are incompetent. Impetigo is an amazingly common problem especially for children of primary school age. For any GP to not have recognized the symptoms is simply an indictment of the complete lack of competence.

As long as the medical community continues to hide the fact that 90% of their job is to memorize symptoms, and accept payola from pharma companies for generating prescriptions , and prescribe medication unnecessarily I will continue to treat them like scum sucking lawyers, used car salesman.

Re:This does not surprise me at all. (4, Funny)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306193)

most doctors are incompetent

1. Most people are incompetent.
2. All doctors are people. ...
4. SOCRATES IS A MAN!

Re:This does not surprise me at all. (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306313)

I took her to our local GP who actually admitted that he didn't know what it was, BUT STIIL PRESCRIBED a topical steroidal cream

Uh, you realize that one way to help with a diagnosis is to give the patient some drugs and look at the response, right?

diagnosis (1)

DarthBender (1071972) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306177)

A lot of people are wondering why it took so long to diagnose. Well I have Crohns, diagnosed 4 years ago, even though I'm sure now I've had it since childhood. Growing up I thought that's just how my body worked. I thought I was just a little different than other people in that I had to urgently go to the bathroom a lot, And the painful cramping I thought was from my diet that I was constantly trying to change around to avoid problems. It can be an embarrassing subject to talk about, and if you had it since a child you don't know any better so I'm sure many people don't even talk about it to a doctor until it's an emergency. I never brought it up to doctors and just lived with it until 4 years ago when I went to the ER in just awful pain. Part of my colon was so damaged they removed about 20cm of it. And let me tell you bowel surgery is hell. The pain killers worked great but they take you off of them quickly because they also slow down the digestive system which they want to get back running again. I remember the first time they got me up to walk I took about 4 steps and had to give up. Now I'm managing well, can't complain.

Cron's disease? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306237)

Let me guess, her body has trouble performing its repeating functions on a regular schedule?

See? We don't need government-run health care (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306243)

This is a perfect example of why we don't need government run health care. People are just lazy whiners expecting everything to be done for them. With a little bit of effort, you can set up a lab in your house. And we have the Internet now; you can look up any rare disease. Hell, you can even become a doctor yourself and make a profit from the other lazy asses who aren't willing to get off their couches and be as ambitious as you.

Not surprising (4, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306251)

This is not at all surprising to me, although most people would look at me funny for saying so.

If you are:
1. Smart (she is in AP science class)
2. Motivated (you are if you have an illness - it sucks; this is powerful and sustaining motivation)
3. Can spend as many hours of your spare time as it takes. This could be 10-1000+ hours.
4. Are willing to experiment.
5. Live in the internet age...

You can often diagnose and solve your own problems.

The key is to realize that:
1. The info is out there on the internet... somewhere. Probably on a forum, newsgroup post, whatever. (Chances are very high that someone has the exact same problem as you, and has written about it. You just have to figure out what combination of words are on that page and not on others.)
2. Although the signal to noise ratio is not great, if you are smart enough you will eventually learn to filter the noise and retain signal.
3. You may go down a wrong path, but since you are doing a type of extensive depth first search (but since you give up on non-promising leads by using your intelligence, you will eventually hit all the breadth), the search will start to approximate exhaustive.
4. In combination with 3, because you are experimenting, you learn when to curtail one of your search lines and try another.
5. Because you are smart, you will learn when one of your search lines fails but yields a clue to success, and because you are persistent you will get closer to a solution.

Thus, an exhaustive search will very often find the answer. The key enabler of all this, the "intelligence multiplier", is the internet.

Contrast this with a typical expert, such as a doctor. A doctor has 20 minutes to diagnose your problem, and has to remember something he studied for maybe half a day twenty years ago (if at all), in combination with the limited number of patients he has has both seen and successfully diagnosed in his life (compared to the vast collective experience of the internet). He can bill another N clients $$$ for another 20 minutes, or he can research your problem in his spare time. Guess what he usually does? He didn't make it through 90+ hours of internships etc. for the fun of it or to "help people" (maybe 1 in 100). He has student loans to pay off, a current model BMW, a trophy wife or girlfriend, a house in the best suburb, expensive wines to drink, classmates to impress at the reunion, and he has to start at age 30 or so.

And if you get a second opinion from someone who DOES diagnose your problem, does he get the feedback? Does he see your medical records from your new doctor? Usually not.

Another thing to realize with doctors is that many (of course, not all) of the people who go into medicine are not natural problem solvers. They are reasonably smart people who have good memories, good English skills, can cram well, and want the lifestyle that goes with being a doctor. A natural engineer by contrast, is better at diagnosis - figuring out what is wrong and fixing it. But often a good engineer will want to do engineering and not medicine. Note that I'm not saying that great doctors aren't out there. They are. But even the best doctors don't have expertise in all areas.

hmm (1)

x4r (1573235) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306265)

most Hippocrite modern collegues is just big fat stupid(or cnning?)idler/liers !! how shameful !! people dying(sometime), while they simply DON't want they'r(WELL paid !!) job !

unfortunately (2, Funny)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306319)

While looking under a microscope at slides of her own intestinal tissue

Unfortunately, her scientific career was short-lived because she was thrown out of school after she had actually obtained the sample of her own intestinal tissue in class.

Doesn't surprise me. (2, Interesting)

dtmancom (925636) | more than 4 years ago | (#28306451)

I survived a serious disease a few years ago IN SPITE of the specialists I had studying my case. You can't know the frustration of being told "oh, you just have stress" when your own immune system is destroying your nervous system, and being prescribed Valium. In the time that was wasted before I got the correct treatment, I forever lost my ability to walk. I no longer have any respect for doctors. If there isn't a bone sticking out, they don't have a clue.

Finally, a viable solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28306503)

--for U.S. Universal Health Care. We don't need no stinkin' doctors.

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