As doctors, we are trained to make our best attempt at diagnosis and prognostication. We gather as much evidence as we can to support our theories or disprove them. We try our best to get as clear an answer as possible. We pride ourselves on getting things right. We may check things a number of times just to make extra sure as we don’t want to get things wrong if we can help it.
Working in palliative care I don’t mind getting things wrong and sometimes I wish I was wrong more often when it comes to prognostication. The clinical examination findings are considered along with recent blood results. A picture is put together and discussed with the rest of the team. I thought I knew what was going on. The patient and her husband held on to whatever hope they could. Some blood results had improved, and others had worsened. They wanted more investigations and treatments. I thought they had run out of things to have done. They hoped I was wrong. I hoped that I was wrong.
Unfortunately, I was right – The latest scan result came back and showed widespread progression of the disease.