A gentleman who was my patient and whom I will call Mr D, suffered from high blood pressure and his exercise test for ischemic heart disease was positive at high exercise levels. Every year it was the same. We, the cardiologist who saw him and I refrained from doing any further tests on him and explained to him the pros and cons of doing an angiogram and the option of medical treatment was best for him. He came periodically for his blood pressure check and other sundry ailments. One day he developed prolonged chest pain and over the phone I advised him to seek help from the same cardiologist who had moved to another hospital which was located some distance away. Mr D decided to go to the hospital closest to him and met another cardiologist who correctly diagnosed a developing heart attack and proceeded to an angioplasty and stented the obstruction. So far so good. He did however made one remark which destroyed the relationship between Mr D and I, built over 15 years. He said to Mr D, ’you should have got this done many years ago’!
He [the cardiologist] did not bother to go through the case notes and earlier records made by me nor did he have the curtsey to talk to me [he did not know me then]. The patient who was in distress believed in what was told and not what I have been telling him. Later on, when I came to know this young cardiologist, I told him the damage his remark had caused. He of course was contrite but the damage had already been done. I lost that patient and it is three years since the incident. I came to know of the story by one of Mr D’s friends.