Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Guessing Game

I love my doctor, but he is not a pediatriction. We see our family doctor for Jordan also. I feel like and have felt like even before I had a child that medicine is an "educated guessing game." I have never been a "sickly" person, usually do not visit the doctor more than once a year, if that. I've been pretty lucky. But in the last year I have had several "sinus infections" and of course with a new baby, have made several visits to the doctor. My husband on the other hand has had several encounters with doctors, as he as many ailments.

What I think is that doctors are educated in medicine, they go to school, they get a degree, and then they "practice" medicine. Practice makes Perfect, right?! So a patient presents to them a series of symptoms and they have to make the best educated guess they can, on the spot. There's no time, and most patients would not be comfortable with, for he or she to say, "let me do some research and get back to you." Most people would instantly find a new doctor and possibly file a complaint. When really they are human, just like Joanna said and they cannot possibly retain every single symptom and illness in their human brains, so they make an "educated guess." They take what you are telling them and couple it with what they do have stored in their brain and make the best diagnosis they can at that moment. I truly believe that they do this and that it is their best with what society and patients expect of them.

Take other fields for instance. Even a highly educated teacher or microbiologist does not know EVERYTHING about their field. I would imagine that they will or have encountered a question they did not know the answer to and had to do research to find it. Essentially I feel like aside from basic and common things like cold, flu, sinus, ya know. That doctors should be allowed to say "You know, I just don't know. It could be a number of things, let me do some research and get back to you." I would be thankful, I would feel better knowing that they aren't going to guess and that they are going to try to figure this out. I don't expect them to know everything about medicine. The basics, yes. But there are cases of things that aren't common and that can look like something else and there really is no way to be sure, they make the best diagnosis possible with what they know. Of course all of this pertains to good doctors. Doctors who are nice and have a good bedside manner and do not talk down to their patients or to parents. I have yet to encounter one of these, and hope I never do, because I probably will not be so nice to them.

Anyway, Good luck to Joanna in her quest to find a new doctor. I know it can be frustrating.

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