OPINION

Are Your Doctors Thorough Enough?

Opinion · ESTIMATE 3-MINUTE READ

During the global pandemic, most doctors and their support personnel are making great sacrifices to provide the best possible outcomes for patients. I applaud their efforts to work with limited resources for many months.

Patients Seek Modern Remedies

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With many variables, it is not uncommon for urban doctors to see a couple thousand patients per year. This is the panel size. The panel size determines how much time physicians can devote to each patient. Eliminating the patients who do not visit doctors at all, some see physicians only for annual checkups.

Patients with chronic ailments visit more frequently. If you are like most patients, you feel helpless between visits. Others, called e-Patients, research their symptoms online—especially when they have uncommon ailments.

You have a vested interest when seeking a cure for yourself or a loved one. Medical research, once veiled and only for the privileged, is now available to all on the internet. If you are able to sift through the inaccuracies and conspiracy theories, you can discover cutting-edge health solutions.

Even without credentials, as a studious patient, you can learn medical theory from clinical studies. You may then grasp and suggest new treatment options for your individual symptoms.

Many doctors attend seminars and remain current by reading medical literature. Some contribute to clinical research and present new findings to their peers. As is the case with many professions, there are doctors who find a niche and get comfortable repeating the same methods.

Are Doctors Thorough Enough?

Do Not Imply You Know Better

As a wise patient, you tread lightly during physician encounters. Yielding, despite having much to say about theoretical diagnoses and treatment options, requires restraint. Most doctors would rather not hear about your patient research. There is disdain for the comments of e-Patients, “Dr. Google,” or “WebMD.”

As a patient, you must listen twice as much as you speak. Interjecting logical questions at key points in the discussion can be productive. It is much better if the doctor suggests the solution, even if you suspect the answer.

Conflicting Solutions

I have had a few great doctors and others that are less than great. So I am one who investigates symptoms before contacting doctors. Then I present the symptoms to my physicians to compare conclusions. When they differ, I yield to the professionals. If their remedies are ineffective or exceed my budget, I interject other suggestions.

There are several examples of less-than-effective doctoring. In response to chronic pain, doctors progressively prescribe various levels of pain pills. Most are available over the counter. Even with these, adverse gastrointestinal issues are inevitable.

I began gulping down antacids. By the end of the second bottle, I looped in my primary physician who offered a prescription antacid.

Still without relief, upper an lower endoscopy was scheduled. I agreed to a gastroenterology consultation and testing. The gastroenterologist identified pain in the intestinal tract. After which new prescriptions were received. However, the nightly pain continued.

At less than one tenth the cost, a bottle of probiotics brought more relief than the prescriptions. Better communication between doctors can lead to happier and healthier patients.

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