A fatal assumption

I WAS surprised to read in the newspaper obituaries that one of my long-term patients had died. Jim was only 58. His death was a bit of a shock. Although I hadn’t seen him for a few months, I thought he was well. 

Five years ago, he’d had a prolactinoma. This had been treated very effectively with medication. Regular MRIs and blood tests indicated a gradual resolution, and there had been no further signs of any problems in that regard. 

I was anxious to know what had caused Jim’s sudden demise. One thought, although unlikely, was that his prolactin-producing tumour may have come back to life with a vengeance. 

I rang the endocrinologist who had treated Jim. He knew nothing about Jim’s death – or any other recent problems. I remained puzzled, but a day later I received the report from an after-hours GP visit from an evening three days before Jim’s death. 

At the time, Jim had