Monday, December 10, 2012

A Fatal Disease "Disappears"

The hero in my MS is in his early 30's. I need a disease or medical condition that he thinks is serious enough to leave his company in the hands of his VP for a month and go on a road trip before he dies. By the end of the journey he is healed. What disease or medical condition could he have that would disappear by "believing" it went away?

Hello.
One to consider is possible misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I’ve seen an aberrant artery be diagnosed as this malignancy on a CAT scan. As weight loss is the main symptom, the guy could see a doctor for complaints of unexplained weight loss and have the CAT scan, which could in turn show the “tumor.” The prognosis for this disease is poor, with average survival of two to four months after diagnosis. This diagnosis and prognosis would certainly be grounds for getting affairs in order and completing a “bucket list” like seeing the country.

Another is viral cardiomyopathy. A virus can affect the heart muscle, severely impairing the heart’s ability to pump, leaving it weak and resulting in congestive heart failure. The main treatment is drugs and listing the patient for a heart transplant. Some patients spontaneously improve.

Questions? Comments?
Thanks to Connie at Crime Scene Writers for this question; this answer is cross-posted there. To join: crimescenewriter@yahoogroups.com
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Kelly has worked in the medical field for over twenty years, mainly at large medical centers. With experience in a variety of settings, chances are Kelly may have seen it.

Sometimes truth seems stranger than fiction in medicine, but accurate medicine in fiction is fabulous.
Find her fiction at www.kellywhitley.com.
Book blog: www.kellywhitleybooks.blogspot.com

4 comments:

  1. Thanks, Kelly. I learn so much here. I have a question. A victim is stabbed in the stomach and an organ is nipped. How long does it take for him to die?
    Appreicate it,
    Marian

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  2. Hello, Marian. Thanks for the question.
    As President James A. Garfield discovered in 1881, a belly wound is a tough way to go. Shot in the stomach, Garfield lingered 48 days in great pain and died of a combination of infection and heart failure.
    If the blade doesn't hit a big vessel or cause a deep laceration to the victim's spleen (an organ suffused with blood that is vulnerable to bleeding), infection and shock are the most likely causes of death, and can have a protracted course.
    Some cultures reportedly use blades dipped in various substances to cause increased pain and infection.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! Appreciate you reading.
      Cheers, Kelly

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