Continuing the thought process from The Mysterious Blogger‘s post, Please Johnny Doc! First Do Some Good!
Doctor, Doctor can you help? I have so many things making me feel bad…
‘You have taken too much of my time, you only have 7 minutes to tell me your symptoms! You can only tell me one thing that is wrong with you, not all of it! Here’s a prescription, you’ll be fine. Come back in 6 weeks if you still feel the same.’
This is my own experience of going to a doctor, so I personally never go to them for me anymore. But, there is one other in my life who without medical intervention on a regular basis would not survive to live another year. My 29 year old disabled son.
The abridged list of his medical conditions, it is not something I would normally bring myself to look at all in one place so this is very hard for me to do.
- Spinabifida & hydrocephalus (he was born with these conditions)
- The above makes him a full time wheelchair user with no ability to weight bare.
- Chiari malformation (currently dormant, thankfully)
- Epilepsy (grand mal and petit mal seizures) Meds only prevent the grand mal, petit mal still happens frequently, roughly 4 or 5 time a day. (he developed epilepsy at 19)
- Slow kidney failure (left kidney operating at 60% right kidney at 13%)(this started when he was 21)
- High blood pressure (brought on by kidney disfunction)(began in 2018)
- Urinary stoma (his bladder died and tried to take his kidneys with it)(2015)
- Incontinence of bowel.(since birth)
- Mild OCD (2015) (hand washing OCD, brought about by the medical profession constantly telling him he had an infection when he didn’t. He now thinks if he washes his hands continually, he can stop it from happening again. I have managed to convince him that 10 times a day is more than sufficient, this is a work in progress, I hope to convince him to come down to 3)
- this is by no means the exhaustive list, I just can’t write anymore down.
He was born with Spina Bifida and then developed Hydrocephalus when he was 9 months old. He has had 14 surgeries, 10 of which were in the first 10 years of his life. I thought I had found the edges of his conditions and we were doing very well, for the most part. No one told me he could develop epilepsy because of his hydrocephalus. Imagine my shock when he turned 19 and collapsed with his first grand mal seizure? The doctors were a tad short with me when I asked them why this was happening? What was CAUSING the epilepsy? Why had he shown no previous signs? Had he been showing previous signs and it hadn’t been detected? I was told brusquely that it was to be expected and it was more the surprise that it hadn’t come about sooner. Here’s some medication, off you go. We’re busy you know. NEXT!!
One example, I could give you hundreds, of where the medical profession has failed my son. Where the doctor has seen the wheelchair and not the person sat in it.
When a doctor sees him sat in front of him in his wheelchair, he will write a prescription based on problems that generally come up with patients who are in wheelchairs. WHAT?
Not my son, no. Don’t listen to his stammer, hear his detailed description of what it is he is feeling, please remember doctor, he does not experience sensations or pain, due to his spinabifida. He won’t be presenting symptoms the way you or I would.
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID THIS…
I can’t do this you know, I can’t sit here and write this and stay sane and calm. I am ranting loudly in my head, I am railing against a broken NHS system that continually ignores him and prefers to treat the symptom of a urine infection that doesn’t exist, rather than finding the cause of the symptom. FIVE years, it took. FIVE YEARS for any one to listen to me, and I can shout very, very loud. FIVE YEARS before it struck a doctor that those antibiotics were not fixing the problem. Perhaps something else was going on?
One doctor. Just one, this time he caught my son and saved him, he literally saved his life by doing a Urostomy and removing the bladder. Apparently my son’s bladder, which had never functioned properly, had died completely and was trying to take his kidneys with it. No one listened because no one cared enough to look for the cause for five years. He is now on blood pressure medication for the foreseeable future because his kidneys have destabilized his blood pressure and sent it through the roof. Without meds, (please remember, he is just 29, not 59 or older) he could stroke or worse.
I am at my wits end with the medical profession. They work against each other, different departments do not talk to each other, they share the same patient but for some reason they don’t feel they need to have a group meeting about said patient when all of them are treating him for something individually.
Are all these conditions not just in ONE body? Would it not make sense to discuss the whole problem with each other rather than just one person, one problem, no conference, no second opinion? No group fix. That would be searching for the CAUSE! NO!! Let’s just treat that little symptom there, stick a plaster on it, give it a tablet, hope it will go away! Make it someone else’s problem.
In the US my new blogger friend Hal Barbera (the mysterious blogger) informs us that the slogan of the American Medical Association is “First Do No Harm!” Well hell, in the UK we don’t even have a slogan! We have the following instead.
Good medical practice describes what it means to be a good doctor.
It says that as a good doctor you will:
- make the care of your patient your first concern
- be competent and keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date
- take prompt action if you think patient safety is being compromised
- establish and maintain good partnerships with your patients and colleagues
- maintain trust in you and the profession by being open, honest and acting with integrity.
Sounds like a good list, looks like a good list, but where does it say, search for the cause of your patient’s illness? LOOK past the obvious and dig a little deeper. Not everyone presents symptoms of a deeper issue in the same way.
My new blogger friend HalBarbera says, not first do no harm, FIRST DO SOME GOOD!
I wholeheartedly agree. It should be a worldwide medical slogan in every medical school. FIRST DO SOME GOOD.
I know the doctors and nurses are under severe pressure to cut costs, to reach patient targets, to move those puppies along please, don’t you know you work in a factory these days? They are just pieces of meat to process, don’t spend too much time looking at them, you might fix them and then where will we be? Someone may live longer than necessary and become a heavier drain on the beleaguered finances of the NHS in the future. Leave it, give them a tablet, a potion, a lotion, waste time and money on the symptom. DON’T LOOK FOR THE CAUSE it takes too long. They could do what they signed up to do though, they could stand up for the patient and say, he’s just a young man, we need to help him! But they don’t. They follow the script they have been given and they turn away when you ask for the cause of the illness, I assume it’s because he’s already broken. Not worth saving?
We all do it, we all get sick, we all need a doctor or hospitalisation at some point in our lives and we take it for granted that the attention we are getting, whether paid for or free will be the best that they can do for us because that is what they signed up for, right? No. Wrong. A quick fix, pre-written prescription, short consultation time has seen the end of the caring profession.
I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be in this space with this shit anymore. This is my son’s life, constantly on a knife edge, dependent on that one doctor lifting his head up out of the sand and saying, ‘I’ve got you young man, lets help you grow old.’
I don’t even know how to keep fighting it, but I will. I will scream and shout until I’m hoarse, I will be ever vigilant and watch my boy like a hawk for even the smallest sign that all is not well. I WILL CATCH HIM every time he falls!
Prevention rather than cure. Wouldn’t that be nice.
F**K IT! I’m done here, I can say no more without breaking my own head! My heart went that way a long time ago.
All images are courtesy of the internet and the Smiley Face crying picture is courtesy of The Mysterious Blogger