November 29, 2018

"It crept up so slowly that I didn't know anything was wrong - I just thought I was putting on timber."

"I've been with my partner Jamie Gibbins for 10 years and we did wonder a few times if I was pregnant - but we did home tests and they always ruled it out.... Looking at me, anyone would have thought I was nine months gone."

Said , quoted in "Woman's ovarian cyst 'weight of seven newborn babies'" (BBC).
"I was lying there with Jamie beside me as the radiologist moved the [sonogram] probe over my tummy. I saw her eyes widen in horror, but the screen was just blank. The look on her face said it all - something was wrong, and when she said she had to get a consultant I started to panic. Jamie did his best to reassure me but I felt paralysed with fear... [The consultant] told me I wasn't fat all - I was actually quite thin."...

The cyst was finally removed in March last year, and was revealed to be 26kg the weight of a seven or eight-year-old child - or seven average-sized newborn babies.
This happened not in what we traditionally call the "third world," but in Swansea, Wales. The BBC, which I've tended to think of as a high-quality news operation, presents this — with photographs — as just a weird human interest story. There isn't a word about how access to health care in the UK can be this bad.

122 comments:

exhelodrvr1 said...

Universal health care good!! Orange man bad!!

traditionalguy said...

Socialized Medicine Kills.

Infinite Monkeys said...

Why would her GP send her for a routine ultrasound? He/she would have already known that there's no heartbeat.

M Jordan said...

Tim-ber!

cubanbob said...

There isn't a word about how access to health care in the UK can be this bad."

Normally this could be a rap against socialized medicine but judging from the article the woman just waited until she got that big before seeking medical treatment. She is just stupid and you can't fix stupid.

reader said...

Ovarian cysts aren't a strange medical condition. A lot of women have them, myself included. They are usually monitored and removed if they start to become too large or cause complications. My doctor has had my cysts ultrasounded several times over the years simply to keep track of it.

Now the UK healthcare system my be a strange medical condition.

EDH said...

Even medicine has been politicized.

"...when she said she had to get a consultant I started to panic."

reader said...

Sorry it/them.

Also, unless she didn't go to the doctor at all that should have been caught.

tim maguire said...

Wow! How could she have possibly let it get this bad? It's obviously not fat and if it's not quadruplets either then it has to be investigated.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amadeus 48 said...

"There isn't a word about how access to health care in the UK can be this bad."
The NHS has taken the place of organized Christianity in British life. Thou shalt not speak evil of the NHS. The idea that the BBC would ever speak ill of the quality of and access to health care in the UK isn't even a joke. It is inconceivable (in the Vizzini sense of the word).

AllenS said...

How could she have possibly let it get this bad?

From what I understand, they can't just go in and have a checkup like we can. So far that is, but that is likely to change when certain people think your insurance and health care is "crappy".

Darkisland said...

I'm with Infinite Monkeys and CubanBob.

Plenty of horror stories about the British healtcare system but this is not one of them. I'm not going to read the article but based on what Ann says:

1) The woman didn't pay attention to it. Perhaps her fault or perhaps the normal reaction in many people. I've got a pain, I'll just live with it.

2) When she did decide to get it checked out, there doesn't seem to have been a problem getting seen for an ultrasound.

3) When the untrasound detected the problem, there doesn't seem to have been a problem with getting a specialist to look into it.

4) There doesn't seem to have been a problem with getting it taken care of once diagnosed.

What more could any medical system, private or govt, do? Seems like it worked just fine.

John Henry

Fernandistein said...

That poor cyst might have gotten as big as the biggest cyst at the Iowa State Fair if it had been born rather than aborted.

wild chicken said...

Thou shalt not speak evil of the NH


I repeat myself, but in 1986 I just had to ask my very opinionated new friend in London what he thought of the NHS, and he assured me it was fine.

Except, he had serious health problems so needed a private policy.

Of course!

John said...

+1 to Darkisland.

What exactly is the problem?

After blacking out in her office admin job, Ms Favell plucked up the courage to see a GP in 2016, who said she must be pregnant despite blood negative tests.

Still believing Ms Favell to be pregnant, her GP referred her for an ultrasound scan in January last year




Joe Veenstra said...

She had access to health care, they were just shitty doctors.

Rae said...

Why would her GP send her for a routine ultrasound? He/she would have already known that there's no heartbeat.

I'm guessing that's the procedure the bureaucrats enforce. You can't skip a step.

John said...

they were just shitty doctors.

How do you figure?

After blacking out in her office admin job, Ms Favell plucked up the courage to see a GP in 2016, who said she must be pregnant despite blood negative tests..Still believing Ms Favell to be pregnant, her GP referred her for an ultrasound scan...She was sent for an emergency CT scan which revealed a cyst surrounded by fluid.

Everything seemed to move right along.

Henry said...

The timeline doesn't really support a slam on the healthcare system.

Woman starts getting big, takes home pregnancy tests that fail. Waits. Goes to GP who says she's pregnant. This was in 2016. Month not given. In January 2017 she goes back to GP who sends her to get an ultrasound. Ultrasound tech sees cyst and sends her to get an emergency CT. Within a month, February 2017, she is being seen by a high-risk obstetrics consultant. A month later she has surgery, which is successful.

There's nothing in this story that indicates bad national healthcare. It indicates a clueless GP. We have those in America too.

John said...


He/she would have already known that there's no heartbeat.

I had an issue with my liver and was sent for an ultrasound. It's not just for obstetrics.

This list explains digestive issues an ultrasound can diagnose.

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-ultrasound-test

John said...

It indicates a clueless GP.

Doctors are taught that when you hear hoof beats thing horses not zebras. If a women of child bearing age shows up looking very pregnant you first thought should be that she's pregnant. You shouldn't immediately think she has a giant ovarian cyst which is far more rare than being pregnant.

Henry said...

@John -- You are entirely correct.

The GP should be sued. You can do that in the U.K. just as you can in the U.S.

"Failure to diagnose" is a common source for medical malpractice suits in the U.S.

reader said...

Unless she didn’t have a single gynecological exam over the years the cyst should have been caught. They can be felt when your ovaries are palpated during the exam.

John said...

Henry,

How did he fail to diagnose? He started with the most likely diagnosis and then when that was eliminated went to the next step - an ultrasound. The ultrasound reveled the actual problem.

Unless she didn’t have a single gynecological exam over the years

The article suggested that she didn’t.

John said...

Henry,

I may have missed a sarcasm tag...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

John said...

If a women of child bearing age shows up looking very pregnant you first thought should be that she's pregnant.

If she's looking very pregnant, then you get her an obstetrician that week, because she is already way overdue for such if she is actually pregnant.

Henry said...

@John -- I think the GP could both be making the obvious, defensible assumption -- she's pregnant -- and show a failure to diagnose the actual medical condition.

holdfast said...

Most of the delay is on her, not the NHS.

I will happily bag on the NHS all day, but you they can’t be at fault if you don’t report the problem. It’s very human to not want to see a doc for things that seem “routine” - until they aren’t.

Robert Cook said...

"She had access to health care, they were just shitty doctors."

As opposed to the U.S., where high costs bar many from accessing good doctors, or bankrupt many of those who are treated.

Impudent Warwick said...

John said...

I had an issue with my liver and was sent for an ultrasound. It's not just for obstetrics.


True, but irrelevant. "Still believing Ms Favell to be pregnant, her GP referred her for an ultrasound scan"

As for the system working smoothly... the woman was as big as a house, but hadn't gotten any prenatal care, had never felt a kick, and there could be no infant's heartbeat. Three major red flags, yet the ultrasound didn't happen until (at the earliest) the following month. Did the doc miss one or more of those items (bad doctor) or was that the fastest that the process could move (bad system)?

bagoh20 said...

Apparently the fetus looked normal for 9 months? What kind of health care would not find out it was a cyst until it's due? It could have been a cancerous tumor or a severely damaged fetus, or any number of bad things. If thinking this was a live fetus for that long was not a total failure of her health care, then failure must be considered normal. She's very lucky it wasn't something worse, because if it was, they would not have found out in time = dead.

Yancey Ward said...

Oh, I am not all that certain the NHS is blameless here- it does seem like it took at least 3 months for the system to remove the cyst once the patient worked up the courage to go to a GP- that would be shocking to any American with health insurance. Now, the woman could have dealt with this at least 1.5 years earlier had she went in for an examination when she first noticed the problem, but, of course, in the beginning it probably did seem like a simple weight gain- only in early 2016 would it probably have been suspected of being something else.

narayanan said...

GP assumes pregnant but no heart sound - dead fetus?
he cannot deliver - ergo specialist etc.

mezzrow said...

You'd sooner call someone's mother a whore in parts of the UK than criticize the NHS.

Yancey Ward said...

My father in 2012 had a Schwannoma removed from his spine that was about the size of cantaloupe. He did claim at the time that he knew for at least a year that something was wrong, but only worked up the courage to even tell my mother about it in May of 2012, and she forced him to tell the family doctor immediately which resulted in an MRI the next day. He was referred to a neurosurgeon in Nashville and had the benign tumor removed 10 days later. He had Medicare at the time.

Bob said...

Good grief, that first picture. She looks like she's about to give birth to an elephant.

From the article:

"Despite multiple negative pregnancy tests, doctors insisted Keely Favell must be pregnant as her stomach grew in size."

It's not really clear from the article if she ever saw a doctor before she "blacked out" in 2016. In any event, I don't think "access to health care" was the issue. The available health care was either no damn good or the patient ain't so bright. Probably both.

Bob from Alhambra

Richard Dolan said...

"There isn't a word about how access to health care in the UK can be this bad."

Truth dies in darkness, to paraphrase our betters, which in this case was the objective.

walter said...

Shiver me timbers.

robother said...

The Sun has moved on to Cockzilla. Big things in the news lately in Old Blighty.

John Holmes, thou shouldst be living at his hour
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen

John said...

If thinking this was a live fetus for that long was not a total failure of her health care,

She took multiple pregnancy tests which were negative so she figured she was just getting fat.
Then she shows up looking pregnant and tells the doctor she's gaining weight and just blacked out. How long have you been gaining weight? A few years. The most likely explanation is that she was getting fat and she became pregnant.

stlcdr said...

UK healthcare: wait until something obvious happens before doing anything about it.

US healthcare: go to the doctor at the slightest paint and get a whole bunch of unnecessary tests.

There has to be a happy medium. But all parties bear responsibility; but none more so than the individual. I’ve enough anecdotal evidence to indicate that the UK healthcare system is very poor compared to the US.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

It may have been a fetus, offspring, baby. That is a reasonable initial diagnosis for a sexually active woman in her most fertile years.

The misdiagnoses and intervening periods may have been procedural, which lends support to a systemic failure. The final result is anecdotal evidence that there was ultimately proper function at the medical and administrative levels.

Henry said...

it does seem like it took at least 3 months for the system to remove the cyst once the patient worked up the courage to go to a GP- that would be shocking to any American with health insurance.

On what basis do you say that? This sounds like it could easily happen in America.

Ralph L said...

You can see from the photo that the rest of her is normal-sized. My mom's family puts on most of our weight high in the gut, which looks weird and preggy since we're tall and thin-framed, but no one has bulged freakishly like that.

Ralph L said...

Wait, she a lesbian for ten years and she's taking a pregnancy test? Her partner must have been outraged and the GP an idiot.

Infinite Monkeys said...

It's not just for obstetrics.

I know, but the article said, "Still believing Ms Favell to be pregnant, her GP referred her for an ultrasound scan in January last year."

That makes it sound like it was just a pregnancy check-up ultrasound.

Freder Frederson said...

From what I understand, they can't just go in and have a checkup like we can.

You understand wrong. Primary care in the UK is plentiful and available to everyone at no charge.

The NHS is far from perfect (mostly because the Conservatives are constantly trying to defund it), but if this idiot had bothered to go to the doctor (and in Swansea, she should have had a myriad of choices) this would have never gotten this far.

AZ Bob said...

Putting on timber sounds nice.

Sam L. said...

"There isn't a word about how access to health care in the UK can be this bad." Of course not. It's the BEEB, part of the government.

My name goes here. said...

Still seems like a long time to me.

Assuming she sees the GP in DEC 2016
Ultra sound scheduled for one month later JAN 2017
Consultant seen one month later FEB 2017
Surgery one month later MAR 2017

This seems, to me, a long time from the first doctor visit to the surgery.

bagoh20 said...

The whole purpose of having doctors is to make sure that layman assumptions are not the end of the health care process. Assuming a normal pregnancy doesn't require a doctor. We go to the health care system to find problems - not for assumptions of "no problem". A home pregnancy test is more useful and accurate than the care she got.

John said...

Assuming a normal pregnancy doesn't require a doctor.

You know what they say about assuming:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obstetrical_dilemma

SF said...

"She took multiple pregnancy tests which were negative so she figured she was just getting fat.
Then she shows up looking pregnant and tells the doctor she's gaining weight and just blacked out. How long have you been gaining weight? A few years. The most likely explanation is that she was getting fat and she became pregnant. "

Sure. But if she looks like she's nine months along (OMG that picture) -- with NO other signs of an actual pregnancy -- do you wait a month (or more?) for an ultrasound? Cause either weird stuff is going on and she's due any day, or something is badly wrong. "You must be very pregnant, we'll worry about the details later" just seems like an utterly wrong response.

bagoh20 said...

Before Obamacare my insurance would have done all those steps in less than one month, and if they screwed up like this, I could sue them.

I once had an abnormal blood test, MRI, diagnosis, and surgery to remove a cancerous rib replaced with a metal one all in under 3 weeks. I can't even get in to see a doctor that fast now. Thank you daddy government.

John said...

Before Obamacare my insurance would have done all those steps in less than one month,

Unless you're with Kaiser "your insurance" isn't doing those steps.

Ann Althouse said...

"Normally this could be a rap against socialized medicine but judging from the article the woman just waited until she got that big before seeking medical treatment. She is just stupid and you can't fix stupid."

The article is padded to the gills with quotes from this woman, so why didn't they ask her the obvious question and get an answer? Why didn't you go to the doctor? Maybe she is just "stupid," but I won't assume that. If that is the problem, I don't like seeing her made sport of.

John said...

with NO other signs of an actual pregnancy

Was she having a regular period? The article doesn't say. I'm betting she wasn't. Why would she be taking multiple pregnancy tests if she was menstruating regularly. I have to think one of the first questions was, "When was your last period."

John said...

so why didn't they ask her the obvious question and get an answer? Why didn't you go to the doctor?

It said it quite clearly.

I've always been chunky, but over the course of a couple of years, I gradually got this tummy," she said.

"It crept up so slowly that I didn't know anything was wrong - I just thought I was putting on timber.

Freder Frederson said...

but I won't assume that.

But you will assume that this is the result of lack of access to health care.

Go figure.

Henry said...

For the record, Britains can sue their doctors.

* * *

Given my experience and the experience of loved ones with fully-insured healthcare in America, the tens-of-thousands of malpractice suits in this country surprise me not at all. I have one close friend who was prescribed a neck pillow for neck pain. A second opinion a week later lead to spinal fusion surgery. That's just one example of misdiagnosis among many.

holdfast said...

I will note that the times to the ultrasound and then the surgery were certainly longer than they would have been for an insured person in America, but they look positively speedy compared to Canada. Of course, Canadians who need an MRI, Ultrasound or PET can just nip over the border and have it done immediately so long as they have the greenbacks handy. It’s become pretty common.

Ralph L said...

It isn't just for Welsh Lesbians anymore:

Man's beer belly was a 77 pound tumor

He finally went to the doctor "in the summer" and had it removed in July, so not three months.

MountainMan said...

Back in the mid-90's I had several co-workers who took 3-year ex-pat assignments in the UK. They came very quickly to dislike the NHS. It was OK for minor things, but for anything serious there were long wait times and sometimes no resolution to the issue. All of them used their company-paid semi-annual trips back here to take the entire family to the doctor and dentist. One friend's wife needed surgery and the wait time was so long that they flew back here and had it taken care of in less than a week.

Also had a couple of co-workers here who were on training assignments from the UK. When their time to go home arrived they did not want to go back. They had grown too accustomed to our lifestyle, which they loved. But each told me what they really would miss the healthcare here. They had only ever known the NHS and didn't believe that it could be so much better. All they had ever heard back home was how what awful healthcare we had. T/hey learned during their stay that was not true. Of course, this was all before Obamacare.

The only country where my ex-pat co-workers liked and trusted healthcare and dentistry was Singapore. US level quality and timeliness at about 1/3 to 1/2 the cost.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Related:
https://youtu.be/JFnum9l-KW4

Ralph L said...

OK, here's the timeline in Alabama: 50 pounder

When Rahn's mother forced her to go to their emergency room the night of May 25, Dr. Richard Sample "scanned her and the diagnosis was made pretty quickly," Jones said.
From there, Jones and general surgeon Dr. Reza Seirafi took over and Rahn had surgery on May 26.


So next day.

She claims four misdiagnoses before that, however.

Freder Frederson said...

Man's beer belly was a 77 pound tumor

There isn't a word about how access to health care in the U.S. can be this bad.

Michael McNeil said...

As opposed to the U.S., where high costs bar many from accessing good doctors, or bankrupt many of those who are treated.

a) Do the top doctors in Britain typically join the NHS? That seems doubtful. b) As for the left's, and now Cook's, favorite meme that American medicine “bankrupt[s] many of those treated” — which is also a doubtful assertion if one presumes that “many” means a large proportion of the population. But even if one takes it as gospel, that's as opposed to European nations whose (typically) extraordinarily high taxes do indeed “bankrupt many of” their citizens and residents — whether they're medically treated or no!

John said...

They had grown too accustomed to our lifestyle, which they loved.

As long as you keep in mind that ours costs 80% more. It certainly should be better and it is. The question is, is it that much better that it's worth the cost? Opinions can differ.

Gordon Scott said...

I have VA coverage, which is single payer. I'm in one of the best VA systems in the US, and most of my treatment is timely and good.

But when I needed hernia surgery, it took a full year from the time I asked my primary care doc for a referral. About half of that was waiting to see the surgeon, the rest was waiting for a surgical slot.

James Pier said...

There is a global media conspiracy to never cover the unconscionable failings of socialized medicine. Americans have no idea how horrible the NHS is, and the result is that you can get 60 million people - 3/4ths of whom have very good private insurance, and 100% of whom have access to more a better health care than the NHS - to vote for “single-payer.” Imo this is the frontier of the battle of ideas. The GOP is asleep at the wheel.

Freder Frederson said...

and 100% of whom have access to more a better health care than the NHS

This statement is absolute bullshit. If you do not have insurance in this country (assuming you are not immensely wealthy), you are undoubtedly worse off than under the NHS. My sister-in-law had a two pound baby under the NHS and got excellent care for which she was billed exactly zero (and my neice is now a healthy 26 year old with two children of her own).

John said...

I'm curious what people would choose given the choice. The NHS has longer wait times, facilities aren't as nice and outcomes are worse than in the US. But not by as much as you'd think. And it's a lot cheaper. By way of comparison, in the US the average policy for a family of 4 is $2,784/month. The NHS would cost $1,546.67.

Jim at said...

I'd chip in 20 bucks for Freder to move to Great Britain, stay there and stfu.

Storkdoc said...

I have had a similar situation. About 10 years ago I removed a 46lb ovarian cyst from a patient.

Here is the timeline: The patient presented to urgent care with a chief complaint of heartburn. The doctor there noted a pelvic mass, urine pregnancy test was negative. She was sent for a CT of her abdomen and pelvis due to a mass palpable in the abdomen. That afternoon she was sent to me for further evaluation. I ordered a CA-125 test which was only slightly elevated. I consulted one of my general surgeons and we had her on the table 2 days later for an exploratory laparotomy where the ovarian cyst was removed.

Total time from presentation to removal 3 days. Taking months in this situation is a little long.

Porkopolis said...

Now isn't that 'NICE': (via: http://porkopolis.blogspot.com/2008/02/nyt-paying-patients-test-british-health.html ):

..If you were going blind in Britain, you would be well aware of a recent example of the difficulties faced by such a system. The Royal National Institute for the Blind, along with other organizations representing people with vision problems, has been campaigning vigorously against a ruling by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), an agency that evaluates treatments and decides whether the National Health Service should pay for them or not. Heart surgery is on the approved list; nose jobs are not.

The controversy stems from NICE's half-hearted endorsement of a new treatment called photodynamic therapy. The therapy uses a drug called "Visudyne" or verteporfin, combined with a low-intensity laser treatment, to destroy lesions under the surface of the eye's retina, usually without damaging the retina itself. If the lesions are not treated they can irreversibly damage the center of the retina, called the macula. The resultant condition, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) destroys central vision so that the victim cannot recognize faces, read or drive. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United Kingdom.

In 2002 NICE filed a report recommending photodynamic therapy only in more extreme cases, only when both eyes are affected, and only in the eye that is less seriously damaged. The implication is that even treated patients will lose their sight in one eye, while others whose sight might be improved are denied treatment altogether.”...

Freder Frederson said...

I'd chip in 20 bucks for Freder to move to Great Britain, stay there and stfu.

Even when I lived in the UK and Germany I was still commenting on this blog. And btw, internet is faster and cheaper in both those countries

John said...

Porkopolis,

But costing almost half as much, the British have the option of saving an extra $500 or $1000/month toward future healthcare expenses that the NHS might not cover, correct? Or buying a supplemental policy which are commonly available.

Gretchen said...

"Despite multiple negative pregnancy tests, doctors insisted Keely Favell must be pregnant as her stomach grew in size."

This woman waited too long to get treatment, however, any doctor who would think she was pregnant is a moron. Pregnancy isn't diagnosed on appearance. She had no hormonal markers, and there was no heartbeat. Her stomach was bigger than a normal pregnancy, and it seems like it took months to get the ultrasound. In the US most OBGYNs would have done one same day.

Freder Frederson said...

I'd chip in 20 bucks for Freder to move to Great Britain, stay there and stfu.

Although if you could raise a few hundred bucks, I would be willing to stfu. I am not that fond of you all that my silence couldn't be bougth

John said...

Pregnancy isn't diagnosed on appearance.

If she looks pregnant and her last period was 8 months ago...

Jenny said...

For all you men who seem to think a pregnancy diagnosis is made by eyeballing a woman's midsection and declaring she must be pregnant, this is not actually what happens. Absent a positive pregnancy test and a gynecological exam, which involves more than looking, there is no pregnancy diagnosis. If a woman is not cycling, but has a negative pregnancy test and looks 9 months pregnant, it is not reasonable to assume she is pregnant anyway. This is malpractice. A women who is 9 months pregnant will not have a negative pregnancy test. Will. Not.

John said...

A women who is 9 months pregnant will not have a negative pregnancy test. Will. Not.

Another rare but possible reason for a false negative is if you’re expecting triplets or even twins. This may be caused by what is known as the high dose hook effect. Ironically, unusually high levels of hCG can cause the test to give a false negative result.

She was huge.

Jenny said...

All the more reason to get her ultrasounded within the hour. This is malpractice. Period. Your improbable excuses don't make the doctor's actions reasonable. Even if you think she was too fat and therefore deserved poor medical care.

Michael McNeil said...

And it's a lot cheaper. By way of comparison, in the US the average policy for a family of 4 is $2,784/month. The NHS would cost $1,546.67.

As noted before, one also needs to factor in the difference in taxes between the two locales.

Storkdoc said...

John at the end of pregnancy HCG levels are actually fairly low, even in a twin or triplet pregnancy. HCG tends to peak at about 10-12 weeks at 100,000-120,000 and then declines. At the end of pregnancy, it will tend to be around 5-10,000. The highest HCG levels are typically found in molar pregnancies and can be in the millions. The result will still be positive, but it takes and an hour or 2 longer to get the quantitive data because it is so high. I have never in 28 years encountered a false negative blood test because the level is "too high"

richard mcenroe said...

The NHS blinded one person I knew and killed another. Not a fan, to put it mildly...

John said...

Storkdoc,

What would you have done as a PCP, just send her to the ER immediately? After the negative pregnancy test?

John said...

one also needs to factor in the difference in taxes between the two locales.

No matter how you slice it UK families have $1000 more per month than they would have had if they adopted the US system. Relate spending on defense, education, etc. is a separate issue.

Henry said...

"Despite multiple negative pregnancy tests, doctors insisted Keely Favell must be pregnant as her stomach grew in size."

Based on the reset of the article, this is journalistic malpractice.

The multiple negative pregnancy tests were self-administered. "Doctors" does not appear in the article. Instead, A doctor, the woman's GP, insisted she be pregnant. That looks like malpractice, but it is the kind of malpractice that happens everywhere.

John said...

The multiple negative pregnancy tests were self-administered.

"a GP in 2016, who said she must be pregnant despite blood negative tests." I doubt she was self administering blood tests.

bagoh20 said...

"Unless you're with Kaiser "your insurance" isn't doing those steps."

Semantics. My Insurance is the only entity involved all the way through. If they are not willing to pay, the steps don't get done.

bbkingfish said...

"There isn't a word about how access to health care in the UK can be this bad."

Access to health care is this bad the whole world over for people who refuse to visit the doctor.

Rob McLean said...

This happened not in what we traditionally call the "third world," but in Swansea, Wales.

Wales isn't "third world"...it's more sixth or seventh.

(Source: friend of mine who's from there.)

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freder Frederson said...

As noted before, one also needs to factor in the difference in taxes between the two locales.

If instead of believing what your gut tells you about taxes in Western Europe and especially the UK, you might do a little research and discover that the tax burden is not as high as you think it is.

Laura said...

"...care for which she was billed exactly zero..."

So the issue is billing, not the amount actually paid for the service and rate of taxation? Nice way to hide the sausage making of bureaucratic costs.

And there are no differences of scale between the U.S. and U.K. populations that would affect how health care would be administered...

Henry said...

John said...
"a GP in 2016, who said she must be pregnant despite blood negative tests." I doubt she was self administering blood tests.

Ah, I missed the plural on those tests.

I still can't find the plural doctors.

Rabel said...

“It looked like a massive pile of ice cream so I called it Mr. Whippy!

Yes. There is a photo.

Rabel said...

The Irish Sun also reports multiple visits to a GP before she was sent to a specialist.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The UK health care system is a mostly a disaster.

But -it's free! so who cares.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Cook shows up to pass the big lie.

gahrie said...

If instead of believing what your gut tells you about taxes in Western Europe and especially the UK, you might do a little research and discover that the tax burden is not as high as you think it is.

Are you including VAT? Or else they might be higher than you think they are.

Michael McNeil said...

No matter how you slice it UK families have $1000 more per month than they would have had if they adopted the US system.

“No matter how you slice it”? According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States and the United Kingdom have similar unemployment rates (4.4%), poverty (UK 15% vs. U.S. 15.1%), percentages of the population within the top or bottom 10% (31.1% for both in the UK, vs. 30% for both in the U.S.) — except that the GDP per capita in the U.S. is $59,800 vs. $44,300 in the UK, that's a 35% margin! — while the tax rates are 17% of GDP in the U.S. vs. 39.1% (!) of GDP in the UK.

Contrary to your assertion, it thus would appear that families in general profit by much more than a mere $1,000 as a result of the U.S. system than they would in the UK. Then there's the question of how much the UK economy is stifled as a result of that high tax burden and the overall regulatory burden, not to speak of the general governmental and cultural attitude toward business and capitalism — the proverbial “business climate,” which has recently improved markedly in America, resulting in the present boom. All of these things have an impact on individual family fortunes, all across America — and Britain.

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mark abrams said...

NHS now guarantees the right to see a specialist within 18 weeks and get one of 6 tests within six weeks. SO eve if her GP requested a sonogram or CT it would have been up to 6 weeks before either test would be done, and then up to eighteen weeks before a surgeon saw her. So maybe 5+ months from the time the GP saw her to when the cysts got removed and not through any stupidity of the woman or incompetence of the GP. Healthcare, sonograms, CT scans and surgeons are all in limited supply. If they aren't rationed by price then they get rationed in other ways, like waiting or denial of services.

Storkdoc said...

John, no I wouldn't have sent her to the ER. I'd have done an u/s in my office and then order a CT or MRI depending on what I saw. Again it would have taken only a few days to go to the OR. The only delay would be waiting on the CA-125. If that had come back very elevated I would have sent her to a GYN Oncologist.

And even that wouldn't be much of a delay. I had a similar patient with a severely elevated CA-125 and a large pelvic mass. I call the oncologist and he saw her the next day and had her in the OR a couple of days later. This taking months is too long

SeanF said...

Jenny: For all you men who seem to think a pregnancy diagnosis is made by eyeballing a woman's midsection and declaring she must be pregnant, this is not actually what happens.

Doctor: Looks like you're pregnant.
Woman: I'm pregnant?!
Doctor: No, it just looks like you are.

Gretchen said...

Michael McNeil
Thank you!!!

Nancy Reyes said...

Reality check please. As a doc I have diagnosed two such ovarian cysts.
Why had they been missed? Because there was no "edge" to the cyst, so when palpating the abdomen, you just felt firmness: Not hard, like cancer, and no fetal parts, as in pregnancy. The examinations were similar to checking someone with ascites (fluid in the abdomen, usuallhy from a bad liver).

One was a chubby middle aged woman, and came in complaining of "bloating" but I found it on a routine pelvic exam.
But the other was a thin teenager who was being ridiculed at school for being pregnant. She actually came to me for a tetanus shot, I noticed she looked pregnant, and when the pregnancy test came back negative we did an ultrasound that missed it and an MRI that did diagnose it.
After surgery, she asked for a photo of her cyst to show all of her friends.

RichardJohnson said...

AllenS:
From what I understand, they can't just go in and have a checkup like we can.

Freder Frederson in reply (11/29/18, 12:30 PM):
You understand wrong. Primary care in the UK is plentiful and available to everyone at no charge.

From the NHS, we find out the following:
How do I get an NHS Health Check?
Why aren't people under the age of 40 or over the age of 74 eligible?

People under the age of 40 aren't included in the NHS Health Check programme because younger people have a lower risk of the health conditions tested for during the check.


Once more Freder strikes out.

John said...

John, no I wouldn't have sent her to the ER. I'd have done an u/s in my office and then order a CT or MRI depending on what I saw. Again it would have taken only a few days to go to the OR.

So it’s not an emergency? Other then her presumed ongoing discomfort what were the risks in waiting?

roger said...

"Man's beer belly was a 77 pound tumor"

there's a german word for that

roger said...

muchos bratwurtos

roger said...

I am not a robot

Known Unknown said...

"You can see from the photo that the rest of her is normal-sized."

One might tell she wasn't pregnant by looking at her breasts, which don't look ready to feed the infant in THAT uterus.

Gordon Scott said...

The NHS has replaced the Church of England. One will hear folks on all sides of the issues speak of it in hushed reverent tones. Politicians who know better will nonetheless speak of it with the pride of reporting on a battleship which won the key bout of the war. Politicians simply do not even speak of it in any but worshipful terms, while sometimes acknowledging the faults in sadness as human failures.

But it's going to be medicine by the odds, because they aren't going to spend enough for really good treatment. So if you're the poor shlub who gets a cancer outside the range of expected age, or if you want a special treatment when you're old, well, close your eyes and think of the Empire.

Henry said...

@RichardJohnson -- That's some impressive misrepresentation. You might actually read the stuff you link to. The NHS Health Check has nothing to do with an individual's ability to see their GP for regular checkups or illness. The NHS Health Check is a boilerplate screening program for diseases that commonly affect the old. Demanding that the NHS Health Check cover young people is like demanding that U.S. insurance companies cover prostate exams for teenagers.

Tina Trent said...

The reporting seems unclear. I've seen articles claiming that use of ultrasounds is more common in Britain to diagnose all sorts of things. It sounds as if she needed an intravaginal ultrasound, maybe the GP didn't do that; maybe she did wait until after the holidays. Maybe she delayed surgery until it was convenient. The pregnancy thing is in her head. She waited four years already.

It doesn't say anything insightful about medicine, but there is something funny about journalism. We have similar stories here, but many of them are written and published by the expat British tabloid journalists who are thick on the ground in America. They're doing the jobs Americans won't, or can't do: produce absolute mountains of exploitative, addictive tabloid stories for both countries.

Joe Veenstra said...

I guess i took it from the article that perhaps she saw the doctor regarding the pregnancy tests being negative, but apparently not. she had access to health care but failed to utilize it, apologies to the docs. I haven't eaten ice cream since i read this article.