There are too Many Incompetent Doctors Practicing Medicine

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My friend died this week and it might have been prevented if the doctors at the hospital she was taken to were competent. My friend Susan (not her real name) had a seizure on Wednesday. She never had one before so her boyfriend took her to the ER. She was admitted and kept overnight for observation and released on Thursday. Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her.

She was taken by ambulance back to the ER  early Friday morning. Doctors told her boyfriend she had a grand mal seizure and she was readmitted. It took hospital staff three days to figure out she had a major stroke caused by plaque built up in her carotid artery. And by that time she was bleeding in her brain. Within a couple of hours she was put on life support.

If these so-called doctors had been competent and figured out what was going on earlier (like taking appropriate tests and not just letting her lay in the hospital bed) they might have been able to clean up the plaque.

I didn’t get the call to come see her until after she was on life support. I was completely shocked. The last thing I heard was she was recovering from the first seizure, which turned out to be a mini stroke or what I call, a warning shot.

I hear too many stories about medical practitioners misdiagnosing their patients and getting attitudes when family members disagree with their diagnosis.

It happened to me three times from three different doctors! By some miracle I was finally diagnosed correctly by an ER doctor who told my family if I had waited one more day…I would have stroked out from lack of blood. Before that I was told I had bleeding hemorrhoids or I was just stressed. It turned out I had rectal cancer!

A couple years ago there were several news stories about this problem health crisis! I don’t know why this keeps happening, other than doctors see too many patients. They are chasing the all mighty dollar to pay back student loans, pay for malpractice insurance, or some other thing. They definitely are not spending enough time with patients or paying attention to their symptoms!

After this happened to Susan, I looked up the Yelp rating of this hospital and the highest rating it got was two stars! Two measly stars! And all the complaints were about hospital staff incompetence and indifference. I want to know why this hospital is still open. I understand not all hospitals are alike. Some specialize in diseases and some are good at fixing broken bones and delivering babies. I want to know why the doctors at this hospital didn’t transfer her to another hospital who might have figured out what was wrong with her.

Several years ago when I visited patients in the chemotherapy center, a new patient told me his horrendous story. He came to the ER complaining of stomach pains. He was admitted to their hospital. After two days they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, even when his skin turned yellow. Luckily this man had two sisters who spoke up and demanded he be sent to the hospital where I volunteered.

Within an hour of him arriving at the new ER, they figured out his appendix had burst and poison had spread to his internal organs. He had emergency surgery. During  surgery doctors found cancer and that’s how I met him. Luckily he survived but only because his family spoke up.

Can you imagine finding out your appendix burst and your doctor (who spent half his adult life in medical school) couldn’t figure that out? Don’t they learn that stuff in the first week?

I am lucky. I had a pretty good team of doctors. But before I met them, I went through a half dozen arrogant idiots.

What I recommend is to always look at your potential doctors’ reviews and most certainly the hospital’s. If I were Queen, I’d take away that hospital’s license but I’m not and the one’s who are supposed to be looking out for us… aren’t. Before you hire (and I mean hire because they work for you) always do your homework. Your medical care and life are too important for some idiot(s) to screw up.

Be well,

Inge

An Open Letter to Healthcare Providers (Specifically MDs)

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Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always – Hippocrates

 

Dear Doctor,

We patients come to you looking for answers as to why we feel sick.  Waiting to see you in a small exam room, wearing only a paper gown, with our legs dangling off the exam table is intimidating in itself.  Most of us see you as an authority figure; you are the one wearing a lab coat with several medical degrees hanging on the wall in your office. You must know what’s best for us.  Be aware that your attitude, sets the tone of how well your patient will respond to treatment or even recover. Your words are powerful, so be careful what you say.

Telling a patient “they are a complicated case” doesn’t help him or her. The patient is already “freaked out” knowing they have a disease (like cancer) that could kill them. The last thing your patient wants to hear is that their disease is complicated. It gives them the idea, you have no idea what you are doing and maybe you don’t. If their disease is too much for you to treat, how about referring them to someone else; telling your patient you want a second opinion, so you can come up with a plan. I have met a few of you over the course of my adult life, who bristled when I questioned your diagnosis or asked for a less toxic way to treat me. I left feeling as though my thoughts didn’t count so I never went back.

Patients have told me too many times that their doctor or nurse practitioner gave them “bad news” with a cold indifferent attitude. Some were angry over it but most were distraught. I remember the day I was told I had cancer; it was right after I was rolled out of the colonoscopy room. I was groggy from the test and some woman, who I never met or have seen since, told me matter-of-factly, “Mrs. Scott, you have rectal cancer,” and immediately walked away. No emotion. No empathy and definitely no tact. Luckily for me, I’m a tough broad. My response was, “rectal cancer my ass.”

Since I already knew I was very sick, I didn’t need to be reminded by my medical team when I came to see them how sick I actually was. I knew my chances of survival was slim but my team never acted that way toward me and they never made promises they couldn’t keep. They told me they would do their very best to get me well, and isn’t that all we can ask for? For them to do their best?

Studies have shown that a patient’s attitude is as important as taking medications. A positive (hopeful) outlook helps fight the disease. Stress lowers the immune system and having a doctor with a bad attitude will stress anyone out. So stop with the bad attitude already.

If you, dear doctor tell someone they are a hopeless case, you have already sealed their fate. In their mind they are a “dead man walking” which might not be true. These days there are too many allopathic and holistic treatments that can either cure a sick person or help them manage their disease and maintain a good quality of life. The hospital I volunteer at has many examples of “cured” patients that came from other hospitals and doctors who told them they were hopeless cases. Not all hospitals are privy to the same medicines and neither are all doctors. Just because you can’t help someone doesn’t mean another doctor can’t either. Many times they can.

When we get sick our whole body/mind/spirit need treatment. Our entire being is sick not just one part. It’s important for you dear doctor to understand that.  Patients have access to much more information these days and many like me, go online to research different treatments. We see ourselves as a member of our wellness team; actually no, we are the captain of our wellness team. We don’t just want to be told what to do, we want to be part of the decision-making process.

But before any of that happens it starts with the first time we meet you. Your attitude sets the tone as to how our relationship will be, so even if its bad news, please say your words “sweetly.”  It will be easier for us to swallow.

Sincerely,

Inge