Pattaya City Expats Club – Medical Mistakes

Doc Martyn begins his presentation to the PCEC by noting his talk would be about the numerous “medical mistakes’ made in the diagnosis and treatment of a young Thai lady who had been diagnosed as having a TB related condition, which was not the case.

Since he retired to Thailand six years ago, Doc Martyn says he has managed some complicated medical problems, but there was one case that was a real doozy. A Thai lady was brought to see him at the urging of her Australian friend. He explained that in the West, medical misadventure is a euphemism used by solicitors to describe a medical error. In this case which he went into in detail, he said he preferred to use the real term: Medical Mistake.

He went on to explain how a government hospital in one of the provinces committed many medical mistakes in her case beginning with misdiagnosing her condition as being caused by Tuberculosis (TB), listed her on Thailand’s listing for TB cases, and proceeded to treat her with harmful drugs. All without performing normal diagnostic screening tests which he said would have ruled out TB and identified the underlying cause of her condition as an abscess, not extra pulmonary TB in a lymph node.

As a result, she was experiencing many of the lesser side effects of her anti-TB medication, namely; intermittent tachycardia, dizziness, nausea, malaise & dysphoria. No pathology was ordered, but she was instructed to continue the drugs. Doc Martyn said he advised her to cease the treatment, which she did. In addition, from the pressure of the abscess she was suffering ever increasing back and right shoulder pain. Her doctor simply prescribed the analgesics Gabapentin and Tramadol. He did not attempt to reduce the pressure of the abscess on her spine, which continued to cause damage.

Because her doctor continued to refuse to remove her name from the TB register, it left Doc Martyn with a huge dilemma as it is unwise to drain a TB lesion because it can spread the TB, resulting in a chronic suppurative open wound. No surgeon would drain the lesion whilst she was on the TB register.

Doc Martyn cited 18 specific “medical mistakes” that delayed getting a proper diagnosis for a young Thai lady that she did not have TB, but rather another condition. As a result, she went untreated over a 7 month period despite his efforts to get her doctor to perform tests that would have revealed the real problem.

Eventually he helped her to get the surgery needed to drain the abscess, but 7 months had elapsed before it was done. The pathology results came back that she did not have TB, she had a Chondroma, a benign growth of the cartilaginous tissue in her neck.

Although she eventually was correctly treated, Doc Martyn in concluding his presentation was understandably emotional as he related that the pathology report on the bones removed during the operation indicated that her Chondroma had developed into a Grade-II Chondrosarcoma. She had cancer. She remains disabled and in pain and it is likely that due to numerous medical mistakes, she will die from this slow growing cancer.

After the presentations were concluded, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting where the audience can ask questions or make comments about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. To learn more about the PCEC, visit their website at https:/

MC Ren Lexander presents the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation to Doc Martyn for his talk about how medical mistakes were made and the difficulty in getting a young Thai lady the medical care she really needed.