“Where is my doctor when I need him the most?”

Change is inevitable. Sometimes you like the way things change; sometimes you don’t. Like it or not, the way medicine is practiced in the United States is changing. Today, I am talking about one specific trend that has left many patients wondering, “Where is my doctor when I need him the most?”

You develop a good relationship with a doctor over many years and visit him on a regular basis to renew that relationship. Is it too much to expect the doctor to be there when you are in trouble?

Many patients find out the truth the hard way. 

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Would you trust a doctor who says “I don’t know” when you ask a question?

Does your doctor say I dont knowDoes you doctor say “I don’t know” when you ask a complicated question? If he does, you are lucky. 

Yes, that is correct. You are lucky if your doctors says, “I don’t know” when you ask a complicated question. Many medical mishaps, misdiagnosis and wrong treatments happen because doctors are reluctant to say “I don’t know” when they really don’t know the right answer.

Many doctors believe that they need to protect their authoritative image to gain trust of the patients. They feel the need to show that they have all the answers because they assume patients expect them to have all the answers. They want to help the patients by projecting confidence. Here are some familiar ways doctors like to project confidence:

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Cholesterol levels: Do not get lost in numbers

Dont lose sleep over your cholesterol numbersChecking cholesterol is a good way to help prevent heart attacks and strokes, but widespread media frenzy around the subject has created some kind of obsession with the numbers that is not healthy for the population. The real intent and goal of checking cholesterol seems to have been lost in the obsession for perfect numbers.

Many people simply believe that the cholesterol score is the ultimate heath score. They think that the biggest health goal is to achieve the best cholesterol score. They seem to have forgotten the real reason why we test the cholesterol numbers in the first place.

Here is a reminder for you: we check cholesterol to measure one of the several risk factors for heart attack and strokes. The problem with most people obsessed with cholesterol numbers is that they forget that there are other things besides cholesterol that increases the risk of heart attacks. One of the most important risk factor for heart attacks is stress.

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When your doctor does not believe your pain

Do you think your doctor believes your painThe simple fact that I was compelled to write this blog post represents a very sad state of affairs in today’s healthcare. You trust your doctor to help you and you cry out for help. You are in a lot of pain but the doctor simply does not believe you.

It is sad to report that it happens more often than you think. Most doctors are not as compassionate as you hope them to be. They are generally biased against the so called “drug seeking patients.” Sadly, many doctors seem to adopt the you-are-a-drug-seeker-unless-proven-otherwise mentality. They hesitate to give you strong pain medicine to relieve your pain. They hesitate to reorder your pain medicine when it wears off.

What I am about to advice you here can be called unconventional at best and controversial at worst but sometimes you need these strategies to make sure that your doctor does not ignore your pain.

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Trust your intuition: Listen to your body (And ignore your doctor??)

listen to your body.001I have always been a strong advocate of listening to your own body to make medical decisions for you. There was a story in CNN  about a patient who insisted on getting tested for cancer and got the correct diagnosis by going against the doctor’s advice. This story provoked strong reactions from people with two different view points. Some applauded her decision and encouraged people to look out for their own health despite reassurances from the doctor. Others cautioned people not to take this too seriously because there is no evidence what she did would be beneficial for the population at large. They are concerned that the media may be giving a bad example and feeding the hypochondriacs who would demand all sorts of tests and raise the cost of healthcare for all.

Here is what I think.

I think that healthcare should be about you. It is not about your doctor or the policymakers or someone in the news. You are the only person that has the most to gain or lose by the outcome of your condition. You can only make the best healthcare decision for you if you listen to your body.

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How advanced modern medicine really is?

The technology used in modern medicine may be advanced but I will not hesitate to say that the practice of medicine at this day and age is, well, very primitive.

How can I make such a lowly assessment of my own profession?

If had had to use one word to describe why medical practice is primitive, it would be the word “uncertainty.” As a non-medical person reading this blog, it may surprise you to know how much uncertainty is involved in every step of medical decisions your doctors make for you. 

Read moreHow advanced modern medicine really is?