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Please Hack my Wife's Lab Results

by (384)
Updated about 14 hours ago
Created March 17, 2014 at 10:02 PM

My wife got a call from her Doctor after yearly checkup labwork saying that she needs to come in for an Ultrasound. When we asked why she said she can't say over the phone how much liver damage there may be but they need to check. When I asked what lab result prompted her desire for the ultrasound she merely repeated how needed it was.

The thing is, I'm not sure precisely what she is looking for. The reason we're trying to avoid it if we can is that both my wife and I are unemployed at the moment and we have about $100 in spending cash for the next two months outside of bills and rent. Even with 20% co-insurance the Ultrasound would cost us abotu $300. Here are the only abnormal lab results - Cholesterol and Urinalysis.

The Hemoglobin was worrying but my wife was on the middle of her period at the time and she didn't think to report it so it is likely that it is merely cross-contamination. We are going to have that retested, but blood in the Urine doesn't have anything to do with Liver.

My thought is essentially that the doctor wants to check for Fatty Liver Disease but the only treatment for that is diet, exercise, or diabetes meds which we don't need since my wife is not diabetic or pre-diabetic. We know her Cholesterol is high but she has been on a fairly Standard American Diet so that should be fixable. My cholesterol has dropped on Paleo from 250 to 169.

Is there any other potential issues these test results may raise?

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41548 · March 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Except it's probably not just a single lipid test that prompted the need for a liver ultrasound. There's tons of other info that is likely missing. Doctors aren't idiots (though they may be scamming insurance to pad the bottom line.)

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41548 · March 19, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Well, nobody here are medical doctors, so we're in no way qualified to over medical advice.

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17329 · March 19, 2014 at 10:04 AM

I would seriously considering doing everything in my power to get her that ultrasound. The alternative is unthinkable. Sell the TV or the car if you must, but get it done - her life is worth more than one test.

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 9:48 PM

DualHammers has been around for a long time, and used to be a very active member. I would hardly call him a troll. This is a man who is in a very difficult predicament and does not have a lot of options, thus he posed a question to the community. Unfortunately there are a lot of unknowns -- to us and him. We can certainly sympathize with his frustrations and accept that as reason for his responses.

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208 · March 18, 2014 at 9:40 PM

Your entire question and follow ups lack rationality. You said "My wife got a call from her Doctor after yearly checkup labwork" how does that equate to "a single lipid test" ? Clearly your doc has other info beyond "a single lipid test". I don't assume anything about your doc, on the other hand you are taking on the appearance of TROLL. bye

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4458 · March 18, 2014 at 9:32 PM

caveat, i know nothing of your health system/cover (or lack of), so ignore me if i'm talking crap (i presume you are in the US, i am not)...

You mentioned that they will not discuss the case over the phone (& also that money is tight). Will it cost you to see the doctor again just to discuss the case, not for an ultrasound. That would be the ideal scenario...to discuss the matter further face to face with your doctor (& ideally at no cost to you of course).

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 9:20 PM

I sympathize. It's a terrible position to be in. Could you call the doctor again, schedule the appointment and ask what underlying condition they will use the ultrasound to diagnose? Then you can cancel the appointment.

Honestly there is no way to tell without a physical examination and a MD -- neither of which I have.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM

I wasn't looking for answers based on manipulated bias, I was looking for a list of potential issues one might reasonably conclude from a single lipid test. You now assume she is trying to cheat me which isn't actually rational given the limited information you have.

Medium avatar
208 · March 18, 2014 at 9:07 PM

Give all the info upfront. "runs her own Ultrasound clinic" would have changed a lot of the replies you got. I'd go to a new doc in the future.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 8:45 PM

We also cannot afford to go to another Doctor. Here insurance only allows free checkups and there is a $35 co-pay. We did get the file and there are no other notes indicating concerns in her examination. What I do know is the doctor we went also runs her own Ultrasound clinic. We called the free clinic and they said they don't do second opinions.

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Since we did not examine your wife, there is no way we can come to that conclusion. As far as I can tell, the doctor saw something in her examination that the blood work suggested needed further exploration. So she ordered an ultrasound to get more information. She does not have a diagnosis, she has reason to look further. We are only privy to one part of the exam. My guess is that it she suspects fatty liver, and not cancer -- But only she can give you that answer. If she's not willing to discuss, get your wife's file and go talk to another doctor.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 8:34 PM

And again, my question is how can the doctor be coming to that conclusion based on a single lipid test? That literally was my original question. Can anyone with experience with more serious diseases confirm for me that it is normal for a doctor to get a high cholesterol result and automatically assume it is liver cancer?

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 7:42 PM

As someone who has had a loved one go through a biopsy and chemotherapy because that person didn't do the screening that the doctor had suggested -- I can tell you that I do understand how money works. Getting screened and detecting a malignant tumor early is several orders of magnitude cheaper than the alternative.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 7:20 PM

I wanted useful information not the obvious. I think you have me confused with someone else.

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690 · March 18, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Don't confuse me with any different opinions...my mind is made up and I'm merely gathering confirmation.

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41548 · March 18, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Appears you didn't want any opinions except those that would have validated your opinion that ultrasound is unnecessary.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 6:07 PM

I guess you don't really understand how money works but that's OK.

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 11:58 AM

It wouldn't. It would identify whether there is a tumor that could be biopsied to determined whether it is malignant. The ultrasound is much cheaper (and less invasive) way to proceed

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Please explain to me how getting an ultrasound would prevent liver cancer.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 2:06 AM

And being healthy won't last long if we get kicked out on the street. I will see if they can push back the ultrasound.

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208 · March 18, 2014 at 12:38 AM

Shop the price, try and get a deal. Having extra cash won't do you much good if something treatable turns into something more serious or deadly. Tell the doctor about the financial part of it, most caring professionals will do the right thing.

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 12:27 AM

Yes, I forgot to mention. The reason we're trying to avoid it if we can is that both my wife and I are unemployed at the moment and we have about $100 in spending cash for the next two months outside of bills and rent. Even with 20% co-insurance the Ultrasound would cost us abotu $300.

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208 · March 18, 2014 at 12:24 AM

Why not go and take the ultrasound?

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41548 · March 18, 2014 at 12:18 AM

Very odd she won't say anything over the phone, no reason not to.

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384 · March 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM

I'd definitely like to. We called again and she said all she will say is that we need the Ultrasound and we can either take her advice or risk liver damage. So we're kind of stuck in terms of further research.

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2 Answers

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 2:06 AM

Not a doctor -- but only two things I can think are looking for fatty liver or a tumor.

I find it wholly unacceptable that the doctor cannot do a better job of communicating.

I would ask the doctor for a copy of your patient files and see if she noted something in them (she should have). Perhaps even get the labs and files to another doctor for a second opinion.

Ultimately I agree with SamC. Despite your current situation, a prevention is usually much cheaper than treatment.

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26182 · March 18, 2014 at 11:58 AM

It wouldn't. It would identify whether there is a tumor that could be biopsied to determined whether it is malignant. The ultrasound is much cheaper (and less invasive) way to proceed

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384 · March 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Please explain to me how getting an ultrasound would prevent liver cancer.

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208 · March 17, 2014 at 10:39 PM

We are not doctors. Find out exactly what the doctor is talking about and proceed from that. You don't have to follow what they say without further research, second opinions, etc. Even if I was a doctor I'd have no information without an exam of the patient and full medical history.

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384 · March 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM

I'd definitely like to. We called again and she said all she will say is that we need the Ultrasound and we can either take her advice or risk liver damage. So we're kind of stuck in terms of further research.

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