Thursday, September 16, 2010

Medical Miracles

"I grew up in India, and doctors there were looked up to as being next to God, and they knew everything and could cure you," Kulkarni says. "What I found out is that even though I like my doctors, I don't have to take every recommendation they give me. I can do my own research."

Srinivasan, the physician who encouraged Kulkarni not to give up, says sometimes doctors don't know about new, cutting-edge treatments being used by other physicians.

"Some doctors are more out-of-date or up-to-date than others," says Srinivasan, an associate professor of medicine at UC-Davis Medical Center who does research on shared decision-making between doctors and patients.

"I get a lot of good ideas from patients," he says. "One of the things we have to do as physicians is to listen to our patients."

* * *

That last sentence has to be taught in every medical school.  I knew what was wrong with me, because I'd been diagnosed by a specialist, and I knew what could be done for it.  The doctors I dealt with pretended to listen, then wrote down what they wanted to write, and changed my diagnosis to what they wanted to treat.  I knew more about my body and my illness than any of the doctors I dealt with at first, yet none of them were willing to listen to me.  That would have made all the difference.

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