My father tried many times to call the primary hospital (where he had his surgery recently and follow-up for past 8+ years) to find out the procedure to get the kidney sample but only managed to get through twice and was put on hold until his phone nearly ran out of battery @@.

We thought the most appropriate specialist to talk to would be the urologist. My dad said that the next clinic day was Tue morning. On that day, upon his enquiry, the nurse at the registration desk told him that there was no more kidney sample since it had been 2 months after surgery. We were surprised because the oncologist with whom we sought second opinion with (Dr A) said that it should be kept for 7 years. So after some discussion, the nurse arranged for him to meet the pancreas specialist as a walk-in patient because, as it turned out, urologist's clinic hours were in the afternoon.

The pancreas specialist quite readily said it wasn't a problem to seek second opinion on the histology of the kidney sample but we had to speak with the urologist (as expected). He, however, was confident with the accuracy of the histology and agreed with his oncologist colleague's recommendation of starting chemotherapy as the next step.

We turned up in the afternoon, as walk-in patient, but urologist had no time to meet walk-in patients as there was major surgical operation conducted that day.

So we returned on Friday morning. The same nurse sort of reprimanded my dad for coming back with the same request despite her answer (that they didn't keep the kidney sample). We responded by saying that the pancreas specialist said it was possible. Since, once again, my dad was a walk-in patient (next appointment is in late Dec), she had to ask the urologist whether he could meet us later or not.

He refused to see us. According to the nurse, all they did was to input the medical report given by the pathology lab and never took the kidney sample. I then said that all we wanted to know was the procedure of getting the lab to send the sample to another hospital. I even emphasised that my dad had cancer and thus it was urgent. "You mean there is no one here who knows how we can get this done?", I asked. They (I presumed she was representing the urologist too) said that since the pancreas specialist was the one said it was possible to do so, we should ask that specific pancreas specialist.

Now, being a public hospital, we were never assigned specific specialists and I couldn't possibly remember all the names. To ask us to seek that specific pancreas specialist (whom already said we should, rightfully, ask the urologist) is an impossible task. We got nowhere with this and so we left.

In the end, we met a urologist (Dr B) at a private hospital. Showed him latest reports and scans that we had. Unfortunately, we didn't have scans taken by the primary hospital since public hospital does not automatically give you scans.

He too (consistent with a few other specialists, formally and informally) concluded that the 1st step, a very important one, was to get a second opinion on the histology of the kidney sample. He wanted to write a letter for us to bring to the primary hospital but we told him of our problems of trying that route. He then explained that while it was true that the kidney itself was not kept, the slides containing the sample should be kept for years.

Dr B then called the primary hospital's pathology dept to enquire how to get the slides. At this point, my dad and I separately thought, "Omg why didn't we think of that?". Hahaha. A form was faxed over (like an hour later), completed by both Dr B and my dad, and passed to us to hand in the next working day. Dr B wrote a letter too, in case we needed it. The slides would be ready for collection within 10 working days from submission time and the pathology dept would call us to collect it.

So the procedure turned out to be far easier than we thought. Although the primary hospital's nurse and urologist were correct in saying that they don't keep the kidney sample (it should had been the slides we asked for), they should see through to our intention (which we stated clearly) i.e. getting 2nd opinion. As a specialist friend said, the urologist (whom he labeled as an arrogant ass) should had just taken 5 minutes to talk with us and then give us instructions on how to get this 2nd opinion going.
5 Responses
  1. William Says:

    Not helpful at all. Terrible. Like withholding info.

  2. Twilight Man Says:

    I had my share of stress while both my parents were still alive recently. The whole procedure could be tiring as everything would be new to us. Everyone like to beat around the bush sometimes. Is your father in KL?

  3. Jaded Jeremy Says:

    Ya lor :(

    Twilight Man,
    He lives in Seremban.

  4. SL Says:

    Thanks for this blog. Finally, I am clearer about what is happening. Those people at the hospital were not at all helpful -- could have caused you to have anxiety attacks. Knowing that you wanted to seek 2nd opinion, you'd think they should have told you what you needed were the slides, NOT the kidney samples.

  5. Jaded Jeremy Says:

    Yah lor. Haiz. So disappointed.