ALABAMA: Girl Survives Because Parents Kept Pushing For Answers

Posted on September 5, 2011

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ALABAMA: We have a serious epidemic in the US medical industry. Actually, we have several, but I’m addressing one specific issue today, and this is it: too many doctors treat symptoms. Just symptoms. They don’t even seem to be curious enough to look for  what’s causing a patient’s symptoms. So, if you are a patient and walk into a doctor’s office with anything close to a commonly recognized symptom set, you’re likely to be diagnosed and treated for a condition that you may or may not have.  This Pin-the-Tail-On-the-Donkey approach to diagnosis works. Sometimes. And sometimes it doesn’t. 

Over the weekend I saw this story about an Alabama girl who was diagnosed by a pediatrician with a simple sinus infection. Exept she didn’t have a sinus infection. She needed a new heart. Had her parents not pushed for answers they would be visiting her grave right now. And that just seems wrong to me. Her story is here: http://abcn.ws/qxMJ2L

We’re in the middle of a phase in medicine that I call “Good Enough” because that seems to be the mindset of too many of those who provide our care. Their  message is:  The services we offer are good enough for you. Don’t question us. Don’t seek that second opinion. Just accept what we say. Except we are questioning. We are getting second opinions. And we should. We are paying for excellent care – not shoddy, Good Enough care. Healthcare in the United States of America now ranks 37th in the world, right behind Costa Rica. It’s a national disgrace, but that’s where we are. And that’s why a little girl with a bad heart in Alabama almost died because she was diagnosed with a sinus infection.

Be curious, doctors. And ask why. A lot.

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Posted in: Alabama