Malpractice by Jennifer Lagier

For six months

mom has complained

of stomach pain

to her impatient doctor.

His records document

breast cancer surgery,

chemotherapy, radiation,

spread of malignant cells

into her stomach.


Despite her history,

no new scans are ordered.

He tells her she’s

just getting old.

The breathlessness,

exhaustion and weight loss,

common symptoms of aging.


When she develops bloating,

severe constipation,

he prescribes an

over the counter laxative,

sends her off for an x-ray,

says all is normal.


A week after she collapses

from debilitating diarrhea,

is taken to emergency by paramedics,

a consulting gastroenterologist

discovers an intestinal blockage.

Seven days later, a surgeon

opens her to reveal

the inoperable cancer.


Jennifer Lagier has published twelve books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press). Forthcoming chapbook:, Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website:

2 thoughts on “Malpractice by Jennifer Lagier

  1. Pingback: Malpractice by Jennifer Lagier | bardalacray

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