Daily Archives: August 12, 2007

A very different Mother’s Day

This entry poured out of me when I blogged at my newest joint over at the Nation last night, titled “Death Becomes Her”. I originally was going to rant about Thai hospitals and healthcare systems but it turned into something else. Together with the fact at that today August 12 is Thailand’s Mother’s Day, I figure I drop that here to share with my other blog family as well.

Happy Mother’s Day.


My mom is in Thailand, lying in a hospital bed, dying of cancer.

There. Now that’s out.

2 years ago, my mother had an operation to remove a golf ball sized tumor from her lung. It was cancer. She doesn’t smoke.

The surgeon proclaimed that he got all of the cancer out of her (along with almost half of her lung) and therefore she did not need chemotherapy. The oncologist protested, but being the younger doctor, he had to “respect the elders” and agreed with the surgeon.

America is no shining example of healthcare systems, but as far as I know, not following up a cancer surgery with a chemotherapy or radiation is almost unheard of. (That’s right. I am taking out my anger on this surgeon. I don’t even know his name. And frankly, I don’t want to know.)

And what is this business of respecting your elders? You are the oncologist, not him. You don’t tell him how to do surgery. But of course, being the junior doctor, you can’t possibly speak up. Someone’s life is at stake, but apparently people’s lives come and go and you first need to save your career. I understand. Anyway, I digress.

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