Some of you remember when we had a “Doctor”. One that we saw for whatever was ailing us. One that could set a broken bone, deliver a baby and take care of pretty much anything that came up. There would be the rare occasion when we might hear the word “specialist.” And when we did they were generally in some other state we would have to travel to if we needed their attention.
These doctors of the past did a lot of research to keep up with new information so as to best treat their patients for whatever condition needed treating. They had to stay informed if they wanted to stay in practice.
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My how things have changed. Now the more that comes up with our health the more doctors we have. Our “primary” seems to be little more than a referral person. She or he may treat our petty little issues, take an x-ray, give you a flu shot, and order some labs done, but much after that and we are sent to get this or that study and/or referred to this or that specialist. There are approximately 40 various specialists.
Example: your sent for a sleep study. The results are sent to a “sleep” doctor to be read and whom you will probably never meet (but you will get a bill.) Those results are then sent to whichever one of your doctors ordered the study. Then, that Doctor will contact you with the results.
And it all can take many weeks to even months. If (example) your sent for a sleep study you might be scheduled for a month or more out. Now if you have sleep apnea they will tell you how you need to get on a cpap machine ASAP because sleep apnea can be dangerous and lead to a stroke or heart attack. Hummm.. seems they were not to concerned about that while you waited a month or two.
That is just one example. This happens all the time with studies, tests and even “specialist” appointments. I don’t know about you but it seems to me if your in need of a study, test or specialists .. its probably pretty important. At least they sure make it out to be.
Consider going for a cat scan for any number of reasons. They want to look for cancer or have to look at your heart etc.! You wait weeks to get in. Then, if they find cancer or a heart problem they want to rush you to treatment or surgery ASAP..
Yet, where was this concern while you waited weeks or months? The system is such a mess and it just keeps getting worse instead of better.
People suffer while waiting but we never hear about that. People die while waiting and we never hear about that either.
In a local city near me with a population of about 58,500 people — there is one sleep study center and has been the only one for at least 20 years. 100 miles away is another city with far less population – also only one sleep study center. You will wait a month, 6 weeks or longer to get in either of them. So why doesn’t another center open up?
There are eight Pulmonologists in the first mentioned city near us. Are they all so busy they cannot see anyone for at least 6 weeks? Or, does your primary doctor HAVE to refer you “specifically” to one that can’t see you for 6 weeks? Does your primary have to refer you to a hospital pulmonologist rather than one in private practice? I don’t know but it seems to be the case and it makes ya wonder.
Diving deeper into this matrix is another example. Your cardiologist wants you to have a CT scan. Your pulmonologist also wants you to have a CT scan. Now, a typical patient would not question this. They would go get their respective scans without question and probably without knowing about the big increase in the risk of cancer from these CT scans. Also, probably without knowing that both of these “specialists” could look at the same scan for their finding. Something – I would guess – neither specialists would tell us thou.
Due to insurance rules, we have to have a doctor referral to go see about any specialist, have a test or a study. It’s all such a racket – but why? Not a hard answer — it all has to do with $$$$.
Another sad side to all of this is the lack of truly looking at and treating the whole body. Instead, each Doctor is looking at one “part” of the body with little to no concern about the rest of it. It seems they have forgotten all about the way each part works with the rest of the body. The way each part affects the rest of the body and the way they all work together.
These specialists have little communication with each other either. Nearly always – they each want you on at least one or more rx drugs and, generally, the only way they might know what else your on is when you tell them. This – in and of itself – is scary. You can only hope your pharmacist has the time and inclination to look at the gaudy mixture and pay attention. Well, what little attention he/she can anyway, because little has been studied about the interactions of all these drugs. Even when they know one drugs warns not to give with another, they can and do prescribe. I can personally attest to that. Yet.. they don’t seem concerned.
So .. should WE be more concerned? My recent book is a real EYE OPENER on the topic
Hopefully, you have been encouraged to get more involved in your own health. We need to ask a lot of questions, do some research and make our own decisions based on what we have learned.
Can you relate? Would love to read your comment.
Linda Carlson – Certified Nutrition & Wellness Counselor (retired) with 25+ years background.
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