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June 24th, 2009
09:41 AM ET

What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You

It's a possible, preventable danger to your health. A new study says doctor's don't always tell patients about their lab results - even if they're abnormal. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has the details.


Filed under: Kyra Phillips
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Joel

    It's the 14th of November 1965. You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, LZ X-ray , Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 – 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

    You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
    Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it...
    Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
    He's coming anyway. And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
    Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses. And, he kept coming back.... 13 more times...... And took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

    Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman,died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise , ID ........
    I bet you didn't hear about this hero's passing, but we sure were told a whole bunch about some Hip-Hop singer beating up his "girlfriend"

    Medal of Honor Winner Ed Freeman...
    Shame on the American Media.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  2. Charlie Erickson

    I've never waited for a call, concerning test results. as soon as the required time for testing and for results to be in my records, I call. I continue to call until I can speak with someone who can discuss results with me.

    Rule # 1: Never depend on others to call you, whether you're under the worst or best of care.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  3. Cynthia Cruz

    Why has the news not mentioned anything about N. Korea's threats on America, is this not an important topic? They do have to means to wipe us off the map yet we act as if the threat is nothing at all, why has this not been addressed? Should we be worried?

    June 24, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  4. Donya

    President Obama's plan will definately help. We definately need a plan as he has stated and yes in the beginning it will cost us more and we may have to pay for it through higher taxes, but in the long run it will help all of us. And for all those Repulicans using scare tactics that gov plan is Socilalist medicine like in England, in England if you want you can get a private health insurance and go to any doctor.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  5. Raymond

    Major lab abnormalities should be reported to the patient, but patients regularly have numerous lab abnormalities in the hospital setting which are micromanaged by the team of physicians. Information overload can cause unnecessary stress to the patient and distract from the take home message. Thus, physicians do and should filter the acute information they share with their patients.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  6. jaime

    i am 100% in favor of government healthcare. it is hight time that americans have the care that millions have in other developed countries. i get a kick out of people who freak out and say that they're going to be limited to choosing from a list of doctors–EVERY insurance company has the same policies! certain doctors accept certain insurance–unless you're paying out of pocket you can't just go ANYWHERE. get on board, people and let's work together to improve the health of this nation.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  7. daniel michael

    i live in anchorage, ak, and was starteled by the headlines about north korea declaring it would wipe america of the map...is cnn going to cover this?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  8. JoAnne, Buffalo Grove, IL

    Health Care Reform will definitely help everyone and must be done! If this reform does not materialize due to the inept elected Congrss, then I propose that the Congress Health Care Benefits be suspended until the time they come to their senses. Lets see how they like being in the world of the uninsured!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  9. MoneyedPoliticians

    OF COURSE 119 million people will move to Medicare if a single-payer system were to pass. But they'd keep their same doctor and hospital as before, who would just send their bills to Medicare instead.

    No, the for-profit insurers won't like this a bit, but it would be the smartest thing congress could do for the economy. Costs would be picked up by the taxpayers rather than employers, but taxpayers already are paying these costs as they are added to product prices.

    But $46 million in campaign bribes seems to be the problem of the day. Corrupt politicians, and frankly, a forgiving media.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  10. daniel michael

    i believe we should be more worried about our own backyard at present, with korea, rather than the arabs who are now mostly just killing themselves. and lets worry more about our own people.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  11. Troy Grimes

    what are you to do when you had insurance and was getting care and lost your job and lost your insurance and tried to get insurance later and insurance companies will not cover you due to pre existing problems what is a person to do for insurance then?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  12. Victor Ramon Mojica

    The private sector had decades to make health care affordable and available to all and failed. I see no other solution than a government sponsored one. If the private sector wants government out of its business then they should behave themselves as they should have with the mortgage, housing situation and not try to rip us off with outrageous medical costs and inadequate coverage.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  13. Randy Maggelet

    Healthcare is finally the way it should be. Just think, if everyone has healthcare, there would be far less admistration, to seek out fraud. Less spreading diseases from people who could not afford healthcare. No more cherry picking healthy clients, fighting hospital admistrators for payment and getting treated like a third world refugee. I praise Obama and the great job he is doing, yet I feel so sad for the lives that were lost in the past from so many greedy politicians that would ever think this is the wrong way to do it. I will take note on the politians that disagree with this great deal. This man is going to save many people on a lot of pain and suffering and I hope and pray he suceeds.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  14. Rosie

    I think health insurance needs to be reformed in the US and I do think it would help me. We need to have a plan where the uninsured and uninsurable can get health insurance. We either need a national plan or a requirement that private insurance companies accept people with preexisting conditions. Also, there should be an option of affordable health insurance for people with part-time jobs and for those who are self-employed. Thanks.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  15. Don Berrenger

    In regards to the possibility of our government offering health care, I think it is VERY scary because we do not know the definition thereof. Gee, perhaps they should come up with one. Wouldn't that be a giant step forward. Duh!

    If this idea of government healthcare reform is written as law, and THEN the definition is created, then it could be devastating. Those of us who are fortunate to have decent health coverage could end up, as suggested by Tony on air, with our employer having a very tempting, inferior plan to subscribe to, should the government plan be an ill attempt.

    I suspect, simply because the government has never done this before, that the plan will be inferior. Additionally, too many voices and hands will be in the plan looking out for themselves.

    Please don't ruin another area of our American lives. It's bad enough that my condo and auto are both worth less than I paid for them. If I lose the control of having good health care, that would just be too much.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  16. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez

    That is the science of doctors and state agencies allows for these kinds of situations. There is no protocol on procedures and maybe if you call they will use a label to control patients. How does it sound to be a Multiple Sclerosis patient and be sent home at 2:00 AM with no medication to your house? Big hospitals engage into that kind of attitudes to accommodate for the hospital needs and not the patients. Certainly Health Reform is needed.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  17. Bill

    Healthcare for everyone, a home for everyone, maybe a "chicken in every pot" for all the deadbeats that sit on their butts receiving government checks, or spitting out children to get more government child care money. Sounds a lot like socialism to me. The government provides, if you vote for them. But who will provide this financially? The person that goes to work, or the government printing more money.
    Taxing the worker more is a disincentive to work. Why work when you can survive on government payments?
    Printing more money just adds to inflation making goods more expensive. Then the government has to increase their payments to the government "employees", thus requiring more taxation.
    Let capitalism work. Capitalism made America the strong nation it is. No socialist nation is as great as the U.S. has been.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  18. Rebecca

    Making milliions of people dependent on the government would just put more pressure on the system. There's already not enough money for social security. People are losing all kinds of government benefits that they worked hard to earn. Obama has a lot of nerve to promise government healthcare to even more people, when the government cant even pay for the commitments they've already made.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  19. Mary Sheppard

    Where is the United Nations? Aren't they they police for the world?

    June 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  20. know hot to get elpWillie Smith

    I am having problems with my doctor now. I am being over charger and do not weither to find another doctor or report this one.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  21. Rev. Dr. Craig M. Whitcher

    Has anyone done the math? The proposed cost for Health Care Reform has been stated to be as much as 1.6 Trillion dollars over how many years? There are over 300 million Americans. This may be too simple but doesn't that come down to a dollar factor of just over $5,000 per man, woman and child, over how many years?

    June 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  22. pa-Pierre Gomez

    Hey CNN, am glad u are following and exposing the tyranny in Iran. But am disappointed that u are ignoring another tyranny taking place in my country of origin, Gambia. On June 15th Journalists were rounded up and send to jail for reproducing a press release regarding the death of their collegue. Other journalists have been subsequently arrested since last week. We in the Gambia call this tyranny; i don't know how u at CNN call it?

    June 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  23. Robert Schaecher

    I am puzzled by negative comments about a public healthcare choice. Having lived in Europe for 30 years, I can verify that the public health care was excellent. We were always able to choose our own Dr. and could get an appointment faster than here in the USA.

    Having lived under both systems, Europe is much better.

    The shock was budgeting for the huge cost of healthcare upon returning.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  24. Charlie Erickson

    Everyone who is getting caught up in the Capitalism vs Socialism mindset, are the ones who are to busy looking at the trees.

    True healthcare reform, needs the hard work and dedication of those who can see the entirety of the forest.

    Charlie.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  25. Kent

    In this great battle to forestall healthcare reform, or at least to minimize the effect of changes they know are coming, Republicans have as allies those special interest groups that stand to lose most to the greater good. These special interest groups include: health insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical diagnostic equipment industries, and “money” doctors (MDs) represented by the AMA (American Medical Association). Their weapons exclude facts; the facts all favor the opposition. No, their weapons are fear, doubt, greed and ignorance. The ammunition for their weapons is myth.

    June 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  26. Dee in sunny (and somewhat wet) Florida

    How about if the PATIENT takes some responsibility for learning test results? I mean, if I have a test, I will contact the doctor to get the results and ask questions. It's my body and my life and my responsibility.

    Doctors are not little gods. Most seem so swamped with patients that it is no wonder that test results advisories to patients might not be at the top of their to-do list!

    But, on the other hand, remember this: Even the person who graduates DEAD LAST from med school is a doctor. And even a doctor who took the medical board exams several times can wind up licensed to practice!

    So, it should be a symbiotic relationship, patients who are aware of their medical info and doctors who not only tell patients about issues they should know, but who are aware that telling the patient is part of their responsibility!

    June 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  27. Charlie Erickson

    In a nod to Joel's post (9:56 AM); the biggest shame was that Cpt. Ed Freeman did not receive his Congressional Medal Of Honor, until 2001, which was 36 years too late. He brought in supplies and ammo, and rescued injured soldiers; about 30 in all. In one of the most heroic feats ever, how he was overlooked, is beyond logic.

    It's been said that the difference between being an average Joe and a hero, is opportunity and proximity. Ed Freeman did his heroic deeds over and over, and over an extended period of time. He took opportunity and proximity to its limits, 14 times worth, and beyond all logical reasoning and statistical probabilities; he survived.

    Then there is Maj. Bruce Crandall. He did virtually the same thing at the same time In Ia Drang, and finally, he received his Medal Of Honor in 2007.

    When we look at being forgotten by the government which they served so extraordinarily well, its no wonder the media did the same thing. Even the greatest of heroes, can get screwed and forgotten.

    They Were Soldiers.

    Charlie.

    June 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  28. LE Dufour

    Americans have to get their priorities straight when it comes to health care. There are many universal health care systems in the world and the majority of people in those countries are satisfied and grateful for their government run health care. You let the greedy side track your real concerns with emotional reaction terms like socialism and miss the real problem. You have a terrible health care system. To pacify the GOP and Insurance companies Obabma is having to whittle away at a potenial all inclusive health care system and bring in something piece meal that you will have to continue to deal with down the road. Why don't you just rise up and demand a universal health care system and say to heck with the profiteers we want a well society and not a sick impoverished one. There has not been medical bankruptcies in Canada for 40 years. Canadians choose their doctor and they and the doctor choose their care. Thank God for the Canadian Universal Health Care system. We get to concentrate on something else other than how to pay for a doctor and treatment. Why doesn't someone insist they take that lying CPR advertising off the air. You owe it to the President and yourselves to stand up and get loud and demand Universal Health Care for all. It does not matter the cost it is going to be less than what it is costing you now and will eventually going to cost you. You are failing America by not getting the job done.

    June 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  29. Mae Wallingford

    Are you serious!! Mark Sanford off playing with the mistress in Argentina and nobody knows!! Governor Sanford you should be ashamed of your conduct and how you have disrespected your family and the people of South Carolina, as well as the citizens of the USA. What a freaking idiot!! You go out of the country to meet with some skank and leave the mother of your 4 children to celebrate alone on Father's Day weekend?? To said skank; you do not mess with a married man, a married man with 4 children!! I hope your wife takes you to the cleaners, you dumb jerk!! What an example to set for your children. Is that how you want them to grow up thinking it's ok to disrespect your wife and mother of your children!! What an example you are!!

    June 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  30. Randy Maggelet

    I work for a city fire dept and have Blue cross Blue shield. It cost the city and us approx. $1000. a month. Needless to say this does not include physicals which cost $850.. a visit and, It also doesnt include xrays. Having a family of 3 makes it even harder since we have no dental also and eyeglasses. I cant imagine what others are going through that are less fortunate. Citys and towns are laying off police, fire, city workers and teachers because the cost are outrageous. After helping, doing medical calls and emergancies I really get pissed when the get yelled at by hospital and ambulance administraters because they want payment for services rendered. they are always in conflict because blue cross blue shield are very slow in paying and I get stuck with a large bill. This means I have to do all the administration and running around for them while they sit there on their ass. Its very hard to find a doctor when you break a bone or something because they are overloaded with patients and I had to wait a few weeks. The system really really sucks. I hope Obama can get it through their thick skulls that the current systems is a waste.

    June 24, 2009 at 7:20 pm |

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