Sunday, September 19, 2010

Healthcare thoughts and a book: The Treatment Trap

Sometimes an office visit for a medical complaint seems more like a marriage than a date.  You not only get  your doctor, but all the relatives - a flock of specialists to look after each body part separately.

I have watched strange goings on as a patient advocate for an elder relative for the last ten years. A kidney is atrophied, for instance, according to some test or other by one kidney doctor, then a stent is put in by a sub-specialist kidney doc who does stents, then immediattely there is a question as to which kidney was damaged, as both appear to be fine....

Or when in the hospital for a fall, the hospitalist says they are going to send a neurologist to evaluate her, and also a specialist to look at her sinuses since the scans of her head revealeved a tiny polyp that might be causing post nasal drip. BUT THE PATIENT HAS ALREADY BEEN FULLY EVALUATED and is under treatment by a NEUROLOGIST associated with that hospital.  She doesn't  care about her perennial post nasal drip and wants to go home. She is stable,  and IS SHARING A ROOM WITH SOMEONE INFECTIOUS.  So MRS X -  How about another CAT Scan or maybe we need another MRI, or five more specialists to consult on your case - If you have good insurance - they have some tests they would like to run..... Never mind that post nasal drip isn't exactly something to make you check into a hospital.

Did I mention that these days seniors go to a doctor for each part of their bodies? Besides her primary Doc, my relative has a doctor for her heart, one for her arteries, one for her kidneys, one for the colon, one for her nerves and another for her thyroid. Then several of them want to see her four times a year which always involves looking at the papers and having a chat. No hands on at all. SO Why not do the blood work and let the primary care guy decide if she needs to see them? No fee in that....

For more of the same foolishness and some outright larceny from all across the country - read the The Treatment Trap -  a book by Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh. It's available at the Danbury Library.  It's a sobering read.