WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It is the Doctor's who are "overmedicalizing" Patients, NOT the Parents.

I am horrified that Hospitals and Government have felt a number of families are responsible for excessive medical care for their children.

It isn't the parents who have decided they don't want healthy children, it is the Doctor's who spend a great deal of money doing everything they can to convince you that you will die without all their special care.

If you have had a baby the system has already begun "overmedicalizing" you. 1 week after the baby is born you go for a check up. 4 weeks you go for another, 8 weeks another. Etc. During those appts your baby get's weighed, measured and checked over for bruises(checking for abusive families) and any obvious signs of ill health. Each of those visits could also include vaccinations, though you may need to schedule extra appointments to get that done.

Of course when baby get's a diaper rash the Nurse at the Ped office will have you bring your baby to the office on top of all the "well check" appointments. First snotty nose, fever, colic, not sleeping right, not nursing right... Literally with a pretty normal and healthy baby you could easily end up at the Doctor's office weekly for the first 6 months.

You "need" the Doctor to make sure your baby is healthy, right? If for some reason they cannot work you in for that snotty nose or crying baby they direct you to the ER.

Each time you wait in the Doctor's office you are getting blasted with all the local viruses. For a 1 week old newborn that isn't recommended, except when the Doctor wants to see your baby. All that exposure to viruses is a promise you will be back next week with a baby with a fever. Cha Ching..

Now, what if there is something wrong with your baby? You might need to have your baby see any number of specialists. You might be paying for 2 or 3 visits a week with Medical professionals. (If not more).

By the time your baby is 2 years old the Doctors have succeeded in "overmedicalizing" you and your child. They have officially created a lifetime and dependent patient. Wonder how many overmedicalized patients it takes to run a very profitable practice or hospital?

What about having a bad back? Another classic example of "overmedicalizing" patients by Doctors. If you have ever had a herniation or other spine disorder, you will do ANYTHING to get rid of that pain, and who better to tell you what to do then a Doctor?

You go for the first appointment, usually an exam and x-rays. Since 9 times out of 10 the x-ray won't show anything as far as nerve's etc after an exam the Doctor refer's you for an MRI. Oh, and for Physical Therapy. You get the MRI done and a week later you are seeing the Doctor again. Of course you also have to schedule with the Physical Therapy. The Therapist you see may only do an intake exam to figure out what you need. You get to come back a couple days later to see someone else 3 to 5 times a week for an hour of therapy. The orthopedic see's you and feels you just need therapy, but to schedule a follow up appt in a month. So 1 time a day you head to PT. Not easy. Driving can be close to impossible for those with significant spinal pain/damage. Pinching the wrong nerves can make it difficult to use your feet or arms. So, you probably have to find someone to pay to take you, or beg someone.. if you have kids you have to pay someone to watch them. Well, at 4 weeks you see the Orthopedic again, and despite the daily torture in PT your spine is not only not better but worse.. You have spent your days praying to sleep through the pain for months now. So, The orthopedic now refer's you to pain management and back to PT daily or 2-3x a week. Pain Management isn't going to give you a pain med and send you home, oh no. They are going to assess you and decide if you are going to get a spinal injection(only work for 50 percent if that)or nerve burning or might even recommend massage for a month or acupuncture.. So, now you in your horrid pain are juggling even more Dr. appointments. In the car daily to get to the Doctor so they can make the pain go away... This rotation of Specialists might continue for years! If you end up needing surgery this cycle of "overmedicalizing" the patient will continue and repeat for many many years. During this process odds are the Orthopedic and PT have hinted that your extra 10 pds probably caused this whole problem with your back.. so you pick up the yellow pages and find a weight loss Doctor too. Still in pain 6 weeks later? Might be time to see a Mental health expert- because if running you ragged to daily appointments while you were in horrid pain hasn't cured you, it MUST be all in your head.. but don't forget to schedule a follow up visit with the Orthopedic to see what else he can do for you...

Watch Tv for just a day. There is a Doctor for everything! Got painful feet? A few calluses? They might be causing your quality of life to be diminished- you need to see a Podiatrist to assess your foot health.(which could lead to PT, x-rays,MRI's,surgery, pain management.)Got varicose veins? You need a Doctor. Cannot sleep right? You need a sleep specialist Doctor. Feeling anxious? You need a mental health expert. Got a mole that isn't an exact replica of the one next to it? Might have skin cancer.. Having extra cramps with your monthly? You need a Pap... you also need those teeth cleaned 2x a year, plus the dental work that comes with it, oh and the tree's make you sneezy or wheezy? Need an Allergist and an Asthma Specialist.....

If you saw a Doctor for everything that they recommend you need them for, you might end up having to cut back on your social calendar to make room for Doctor Appointments.

Those are for the relatively "healthy" Americans. What happens when you have a chronic illness? Your visits to a slew of different Specialists is going to TRIPLE if not more...

Frankly based on the pressure to be overmedicalized by our health system, I should be dead- somehow I have lived, how can that be? I am a little shocked that those varicose veins and calluses haven't killed me yet.... or diminished the quality of my life to the point I need therapy(another referral,right?)

Despite all those Doctor appointments for my spine, it still hurts. Despite all those well baby appointments, Abby is still sick.

It is exhausting being sick and the process Doctor's have setup to make you better is twice as exhausting. Have a headache? Better ask your Doctor which OTC medicine is safe.. especially if you are already on a slew of meds to help you sleep, help you be happy, help your stiff joints,help your high blood pressure etc. "Overmedicalizing" patients is now the priority of our Healthcare system, blame the Doctors, not the patients.

Of course, if you buck the system because you actually catch on to the fact that they are "overmedicalizing" you? You are now the Non-Compliant Patient which in their eye's is even worse.

So, I am doomed. Those calluses or varicose veins are going to do me in... When they kill me, I wonder if I will wish I had been Overmedicalized by my local healthcare system?


Reagan Leigh said...

No need to read past the title of your post...I agree with you 100%! In the mito kids I follow, it's usually the doctors ordering worthless procedures and insisting that they run them to the ER and putting them at risk! It's usually the parents that just want to get them stable and back home! Away from the medical interventions!

Dr Jessica Otte said...

Great post! I think both doctors and patients contribute to this phenomenon. The doctors blame the patients, the patients blame the doctors. (I'm a doctor and was a patient with a serious illness recently). We really need to work together to fix it.

As to the 'burden of care' yes it's a lot of work being a patient! You might be interested in Victor Montori's work about "Minimally Disruptive Medicine" (http://www.lessismoremedicine.com/blog/minimally-disruptive-medicine-thinking-differently-about-nonadherence)

I can assure you that doctors are trying to do something about this overmedicalization problem. I maintain a website (http://www.lessismoremedicine.com) that is an attempt to curate all the projects, conferences, etc. in one place so people can access the resources that can help change this problem. The Choosing Wisely campaign (www.choosingwisely.org) is probably the first major one to involve patients in a meaningful way, but shared decsion-making initiatives are starting to become more popular.

I'm also speaking at medical conferences and medical schools about the topic, trying to improve 'the culture' of medicine. If you have anything you thing you would like to see on the website, I would welcome your feedback.

Diane said...

I will be heading over to your website with morning coffee! Thank you for the terrific resources and it is reassuring to know that my frustration as a patient is felt by the Doctor's as well. Even better that it is now being addressed. We do need to problem solve,together. Preventative care is a new world and both patients and Doctor's at times act today without realizing the problems they are causing for tomorrow!

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