Psychic or Stupid?

“She will be on medication for the rest of her life.” “If you leave the hospital tonight, you will die.” “These hormone pills are your only hope.” “You must have surgery.”

No, there was no crystal ball involved in any of the above predictions. And none are transcripts from 1-800-psychic. A physician made each pronouncement.

First of all, I have nothing against medical professionals. I know many fine doctors and surgeons. But when they speak without thinking, resulting in a quick, unfinished assessment, they fall into the ever-popular category of stuper (yes – short for a preposterously stupid person).

“She will be on meds for the rest of her life.” So said a well-known physician to the mother of a six-year-old suffering from a bacterial infection. Today, this little nine-year-old girl feels fine and is medication free. What made this quack think he could see the future? Ouch! My Aussie Shepherd, Rio, lying by my feet, just nipped my ankle when he heard me read that one out loud. There I go again. There was no thought! By virtue of being knighted a doctor, he automatically knew all. This youngster’s mom did her own research and discovered that diet played a vital role in her daughter’s condition. When the diet changed, the disease vanished.   

“If you leave the hospital tonight, you will die.” This was told to my now ninety-year-old grandma, after I took her to the emergency room five years ago. She felt light-headed. The ER doc told her if she went home, he wouldn’t be responsible for her death as she was suffering from congestive heart failure. Grandma wanted out. She felt she’d die if she  spent the night in the hospital.

I asked the physician to step outside. A fistfight was not what I intended; however, it wasn’t entirely out of the question. I could have taken him; he was smaller than me. When we were alone, I asked,

“Don’t you think she’s been doing something right for the past eighty-five years if she’s still going strong?”

“Yes. But she needs to stay or she may die.”

I took her home. Grandma managed to somehow survive. And is doing well today.

“These hormone pills are your only hope.” So declared a physician to twenty-year-old me when I suffered from a female disorder. I took the pills; the condition went away. When I stopped the pills, the condition returned. I didn’t want to take drugs in perpetuity. My mother advised, “You need iron.” I took an iron supplement. I never had that problem again. Duh! Why didn’t Doc think of that? Yikes! This time Rio slammed his paw down on my bare foot. Sorry, I won’t forget again. As always, think is the key word.

“You must have surgery,” proclaimed renowned specialist, Dr. B.  Thirty-seven-year-old Matt took prescription medication for a stomach ailment and now suffered from a kidney disorder. He viewed surgery as a last resort. He asked the doctor, “Do you think my meds could have effected the kidney?”

Dr. B replied, “I see hundreds of patients a week who take this drug. Not one has ever had this problem.”

Matt requested permission to discontinue the drug for a month. Dr. B reluctantly agreed, saying they shouldn’t delay the operation. 

Matt stopped taking his medication. His kidney returned to normal. Why didn’t Dr B consider the fact that every single patient is an individual specimen of life with unique needs and side effects? Why didn’t she bother to think? (This time Rio just looked up at me and smiled). 

Do some physicians moonlight as fortune tellers in their spare time? No, but the average doctor spends no more than twenty minutes per patient.  It’s a lot easier to view these patients collectively than as individuals. It saves time and effort.

I found it scandalous that Dr. B admitted to seeing hundreds of patients weekly.  That’s basically an admission of overwork and inability to allocate time for individual analysis and understanding. It didn’t help her cause that she wore diamond earrings the size of golf balls. No patient needs to view how their fees are spent. Especially while consulting the doctor in the office. 

Don’t be afraid to disagree with your physician. And do take the time to do your own research so that you have some understanding of whatever ails you. This will let the doctor know that you are in charge and not at his/her mercy. Your medical expert should be your partner, working with you to resolve the malady. Do not accept anything less. If your doc won’t work with you, then find one who will. They do exist.

Any physician who expects patients to mutely follow his/her decree is a stuper.  These doctors believe they don’t need to think because they just know… by virtue of their degree. What would happen if medical professionals fostered an open mind and devoted more time and understanding to each patient? There would be happier patients…and doctors.

A little thinking goes a long way.


4 Responses to “Psychic or Stupid?”

  1. Julianne says:

    “What would happen if medical professionals fostered an open mind and devoted more time and understanding to each patient?”

    The world would come to an end and so would the continuous flow of money.

    I’m a little jaded about the business of medicine.

  2. Keli says:

    I agree. Greed is an odious cousin of stupidity. When I come across a decent person of any kind, I am beside myself with joy. Makes you really appreciate the good ones.

  3. writer chick says:

    I agree completely. Many doctors have the God complex and get very arrogant about their knowing more than mere humans. And also, they are entrenched with the drug companies and the HMO PPO networks that to some degree force them to go for the quick solution.

    People should always get a second opinion when their doctors give them this kind of advice. It couldn’t hurt and like you said, they may discover there are alternate solutions.

    Good post.


  4. jacqueline says:

    The sad thing is that they make mistakes and are unwilling to admit them. I have seen that happen with my parents doctors over and over and with their generation they don’t question (unless they are as spunky as your grandmother!) what the doctor says. I think that is changing though.

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