My brother - an interventional radiologist, the medical specialty that performs surgical procedures via catheters and other special tools introduced into the body via the circulatory system - was infected with hepatitis C from one of his patients at the teaching hospital where he used to work. It probably happened as a result of a glove failure, but that was never established. He could still have taught, if interferon treatment had succeeded, but instead it caused clotting problems that eventually cost him use of one arm, on top of the infection that will destroy his liver in the next few years. He has also lost a kidney, and needs colon surgery but has not decided that it is worth the ordeal.
Every time I talk to him the subject of whether his life is worth living seems to arise. He used to be physically active, but any exertion now leaves him weak and confused due to associated problems with circulation to his brain. A transplant would not change that, or restore use of his arm.
Dangerous for the surgeon? Yes, I think so. I know so. And my brother is worth more than every one of these low-lifes that ever existed.
Sorry to hear about your brother. We take doctors, nurses, for granted.
If I were part of the "selection process," your brother would be at the top of the list.
Best wishes to him (and to you).
posted on 11/21/2003 1:42:36 PM PST
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