Tuesday, August 25, 2015



DOCTORS AND THE GOD COMPLEX

I want to be clear about something - the sign of brilliance in a surgeon is recognition of their limitations.  During my second gallbladder surgery I was lucky so many surgeons were willing to say given the potential for complications, they were not qualified to do the surgery.  These were highly qualified Board Certified surgeons in their fields.  They all agreed that Dr. Jose Almeda, a liver specialist was my best option.  Dr. Almeda was very frank and honest with me - he said I may be in pain for the rest of my life.  I suffer pain every day. The liver is highly scarred.  It's complex but the pain comes from spasms.  Something as simple as water can set off the spasms.  I am incorporating the pain into my life, so I am not even taking Ibuprofen.  It is a nuisance pain which I can live with.

My point is not all doctors are bad.  Some are brilliant enough to be honest and know their limitations and are not afraid to refer you to a more qualified surgeon.

PROFILE OF THREE CASES

CASE ONE:

About a month ago, a Dallas women was discharged from the hospital to die at home within the next two days.  She is doing well walking around her home with her walker.  I do not have a problem with the doctors being wrong - my issue is their unwillingness to say "we do not know the problem so we cannot give you a prognosis."

CASE TWO:

A man as strong as a race horse was told by the oncologist that he has stage 4 cancer and that they will make him comfortable before putting him in hospice care.  The man has no symptoms and is as strong as a race horse.  The diagnosis is based not on biopsies but statistical probably of what they saw in the thoracic cat scan.  The findings put him at 50/50 chance of them being cancer.  Now given the fact they have no biopsy and the man has no symptoms and is as strong as a race horse, what forms the basis of the opinion?  Arrogance.

CASE THREE:

A man loses three pints of blood over several months before collapsing.  He is diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  He is being treated at the best cancer facility in NYC.  Even though no Pet scan or thoracic scan has been done, the doctor tells him he will be fine after chemo.

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OUR MEDICAL SCHOOLS?

All I expect from my doctors is, "I do not know."  That is a legitimate answer.  But winging it because you are a doctor is not an option.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post!