Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Perspective on Doctors Attitudes Toward Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndr

Note: One issue involved is the increasingly prevalent attitude in
medicine is that if there is no easily identifiable reason for
symptoms, then patients should be firmly told there is nothing wrong
in order to prevent "medicalization" of so-called "normal" feelings
and presumably iatrogenic harm by doctor. The reasoning is that if
doctors pay attention to presumably non-medical issues they will
encourage patients to believe they are ill when presumably they are
not. The dangers inherent with this approach are noted below. As well,
for those old enough to remember, advice columnist Ann Landers she
always said there are as many doctors on one side of the bell curve as
the other.

New Perspective on Doctors Attitudes Toward Fibromyalgia & Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome
Wednesday December 29, 2010

When you talk to people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
syndrome, it doesn't take long to collect horror stories about doctors
and how many of them treat us. They don't believe us; they think we're
lazy, crazy or drug seeking; they dismiss our diagnoses and refuse to
test or treat us.

I recently had an eye-opening experience -- it's not just us!

I was at a holiday get together talking to a 30-year-old friend and a
50-something woman who happens to be a hospital nurse. The younger
woman had recently had a hard lump in her throat that caused problems
swallowing. It was keeping her up at night and making her afraid to
eat. A physician's assistant suspected a goiter and checked her
thyroid levels. They were normal, so the PA told her she'd just have
to learn to live with it and flat-out refused to do anything else. She
went to another doctor who said it was damage from acid reflux. Had
she just lived with it, she'd have ended up with major problems from
the acid eating away her esophagus.

The nurse, who'd just recovered from knee surgery, said that when she
went to the doctor and told him she'd fallen and hurt her knee, he
told her it was just her arthritis pain. When she told him it wasn't
and insisted something was damaged from the fall, he accused her of
drug seeking. To shut her up, he agreed to an MRI and a referral. She
said the specialist had surgery scheduled before she even got to his
office, based on damage revealed by the MRI.
While it's disheartening to think that so many people in the medical
field routinely treat their patients so abysmally, it was good for me
to hear these stories.
As a group, we may attract more of this poor
treatment than other people, but we're not alone. I feel like less of
a target now and more like just one more person who's frustrated with
the state of the medical profession.

Do you know "other" people who've run into these attitudes? Does it
help to know that they encounter the same problems? Or is it just
frustrating to know that we have so many lousy health-care workers?

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