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Bad medicine

Doctor prescribes weight loss pills to woman with giant abdominal cyst

Friday, June 30, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: bad medicine, medical malpractice, health news


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(NewsTarget) A New Zealand doctor is being charged with professional misconduct for prescribing diet pills to a woman with a huge abdominal cyst.

The victim visited the doctor four times between 2002 and 2004 complaining of pain, and was told she needed to lose weight. But the 44-year-old mother of three actually had a 32-pound cyst that had to be surgically removed after an emergency trip to the hospital.

The woman's lawyer, Mike Heron, emphasized that the case is not about the doctor's failure to diagnose an ovarian cyst, but "It's about a failure to recognize she had an abnormal and undoubtedly a very distended abdomen," he said. Heron also alleged the doctor did not follow proper procedures for assessing, examining, and investigating the woman's symptoms.

After the surgery, the woman's weight dropped from 163 pounds to 125 pounds. As a result of the size of the cyst and the appetite-suppressing diet pills, she had been able to eat only very small amounts of food for several months, and was extremely malnourished.

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in Christchurch, New Zealand is hearing the case. The doctor accused in the case will be allowed to practice through the conclusion of the trial.

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