Doctors: Just What Did Their Transcripts Read?
I've always wondered when I get a new doctor: Did he or she get a 'C' in med school in my area of need, or did they ace that particular subject?
For instance, I have a close family member that has had prostate cancer twice. After his first bout, he watched his blood levels carefully, and charted them. When he saw an increasing rise in his results, he flagged the doctor. However, the doctor told him not to worry about it. When my relative insisted on being further tested, the doctor sighed and told him that he would humor him, but there was no evidence that the cancer had returned. The test results came back and guess what? It had returned. If he had been left to the tender care of the doctor, my relative would be pushing up daisies by now. And this is a doctor that is respected in our large metropolitan area.
Then, of course, you've heard of all the mistaken surgeries, haven't you? You haven't? Well, in the early 90s, the doctors at a hospital within 2 miles of the University of Florida kept messing up. One person went in needing a leg removed, but got the other one removed instead. Two for the price of one, you might say. The same thing happened with a woman who was in to have one breast removed, but the other one was taken instead. Still another one involved someone having a hand removed, and yup...you guessed it... two for the price of one. These SNAFUs were reported regularly in the newspaper until someone finally got motivated to do something about it and the hospital began to crack down on their staff. How would you have liked to have been one of the last ones, because no one was motivated enough to do anything about it until after your turn had come?
I used to tell my husband that if I were bleeding to death in front of his very eyes, he was to take me to the other hospital which was much further away. I figured I'd stand a better chance.
I've had increasing neck pain for over 6 years. The first doctor I went to (my GP) told me I was too much of a type 'A' and should relax a little. He prescribed mild sedatives.
When the pain got bad enough, I went to a chiropractor. When he did an x-ray as a precursor to treatment, he came in white-faced and told me to get dressed. He said he refused to do any treatment on me until I had had an MRI and referred me back to my original doctor.
When I got to my original doctor, he sneered a bit. Chiropractors, you know... the closest thing to modern witchdoctors. That is, until he popped the X-ray up on the lightscreen and stopped talking. That's when I got sent for my MRI.
After that, I got a rash of treatments: cortisone injections in my neck, stronger muscle relaxants, physical therapy, referral to an osteopathic surgeon. This all took place over a number of years, because no one really took my pain seriously. I guess I'm a little too understated for my own good. Grabbing the doctor by the throat and screaming in agony probably would've worked.
The osteopath ordered more tests, and I got all sorts of MRIs, catscans, and whatnot. But whenever I went back and complained of the pain, he ordered me for more useless physical therapy.
I finally called my new GP and asked for a referral to someone who was reputed to be excellent. I showed up in his offices only to be referred for a discogram (which I've discussed earlier in my blog). Up until then, no one had bothered to tell me about this little test, which shows exactly what is wrong with the disks in the neck.
6 years later, and we now know the source of the pain: I have three cracked disks that require surgery. Wouldn't it have been nice to have discovered this years ago, before my quality of life had been severely impacted?
Thank you for listening. This is the end of my tirade.