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Stupid/Cranky & Arbitrary Doctors: Addendum

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by PhoenixBurger, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. PhoenixBurger

    PhoenixBurger Senior Member

    So after reading the previous similarly named thread, I thought about my recent correspondences with a guy I know who is also an ER doctor. I had the same experiences as Valentijn and many of you have had with doctors. So I wanted to drill this guy. Really present to him the frustrations and irritations in dealing with doctors and get his input.

    here was his take on it:


    1) You would be shocked the type of patients we run into every day.

    2) My wife and I have seen thousands and thousands of patients, half of which are ready to sue us. Think about that for a second. And most of them are rational and very intelligent people.

    3) The litigious nature of our country, and especially with regards to medicine, makes practicing medicine a real headache sometimes.

    When asked why doctors would rather call someone a hypochondriac than actually put some effort into finding the causes ...

    4) Do you want the blunt truth? We have complex lives. We are just human. Sometimes we can't handle spending that much time on somebody else. That's just honesty. The problem is, I'm an ER doc and honestly don't know enough about the complexity of your situation to find an answer.

    5) I have no problem with you dictating your own tests. But I would never be in a situation where I would feel comfortable treating you with medications for a complex issue that I don't understand myself! (My wife is much smarter as an internist and does try to tackle issues like these though.)

    6) The problem is partially, that you are just as smart or smarter than most your doctors, probably. (Including me.) I think perhaps that intimidates a lot of physicians... ...but they also don't want the time suck.

    7) You really are in a tough position.

    When asked why doctors become doctors in the first place... is it ego or money?

    8) The problem is I think we go into it all altruistic and wanting to be a mother Theresa and help, but then the establishment breaks us down and ruins us.

    9) The problem is, modern medicine may not have an answer for what's going on with you. In fact, it most likely doesn't. Often times we just treat the symptoms.

    10) Here's the problem: We do see bona fide hypochondriacs. All day.

  2. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem All Good Things Must Come to an End

    If most of the people that want to sue them are rational and very intelligent, maybe they are doing (or not doing) things that justify a lawsuit.
    taniaaust1 and Valentijn like this.
  3. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    Also a little shocking that they think they're seeing hypochondriacs "all day". Isn't it a relatively rare disorder?
    Moxie, taniaaust1 and rosie26 like this.
  4. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

    PhoenixBurger, good for you! Love it. At least he was honest. Everything he said is exactly what I think my doc feels. He has told me I am quite smart and what I read and present to him blows his mind. It's crazy, actually. He'll say, "why didn't I think of that?" Yeah! Really!! Why didn't you??

    And yet, this frustrates him and makes him become angry with me. Ego, lack of time, thinking about himself. Plus, I am a time suck.
    Valentijn likes this.
  5. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

    I remember talking to a doctor about how unbearable my symptoms were. She started talking to me about "burns patients being the most unbearable". I said to her "pain is pain" and "unbearable is unbearable" not matter what the condition. Yes burn pain would be agonizingly painful. But my symptoms were agonizing too, I was in a living hell with my symptoms, day after day, year after year.
    maryb and Lala like this.
  6. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    rosie..Which is most unbearable?? Burns victims would probably be given strong pain killing drugs.. where as many ME/CFS patients even many severe pain ones, have their pain ignored. Ive known ME people to need morphine, some have been lucky enough to get it.. while most wouldnt.

    "6) The problem is partially, that you are just as smart or smarter than most your doctors, probably. (Including me.) I think perhaps that intimidates a lot of physicians... ...but they also don't want the time suck. "

    Ive heard both those things from doctors who didnt want to take me on. Another reason why Ive been rejected by a doctor was cause I was seen as a hopeless, untreatable case and "I dont take ME/CFS cases". The sicker one is.. the more likely it is that doctors may refuse to take you on as a patient as the more hopeless you are to them (this is in my experience anyway).

    There are so many different reasons why many doctors dislike ME/CFS patients.
    rosie26 likes this.
  7. PhoenixBurger

    PhoenixBurger Senior Member

    It was really enlightening when he said that we are a "time suck".

    I think that perfectly describes the look on doctors faces. I mean if I had to give a name to the look they give me, its

    "You're going to make me spend a lot of time, and it wont increase my income to do so"

    We have to remember that doctors are viewing this as a business too. I had an immunologist tell me that he's lucky, because he's able to 'turn a profit' off of allergy shots. So he's got that little source of additional income he can sell to people who see him, whereas other doctors only make money off of the volume of patients they can squeeze into the day. The office visit fee, basically.

    All the rest? Actual effort? Actually going home and researching on our behalf? They're not going to do it because they don't get paid for that time spent. Now I finally understand.

    And the solution is exactly as I always assumed: The medical culture itself needs a complete overhaul.

    I dare say its the doctors who don't live and breathe by # of office visits per day that are able to put a little extra time and effort in. I assume they'd have to be subsidized by some outside organization? Some sort of guaranteed daily income no matter how many patients they see?

    The bottom line is simple though: This is why no doctor will put any effort into your situation outside of the office visit. Unless they have some sort of personal interest in your case. So instead of going home and playing backgammon they go home and search PubMed.

    Off the clock. With no reimbursement for it ...
    Valentijn likes this.
  8. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH

    Perhaps, or perhaps people just expect to much in one visit etc? We are complex and for many of us, we have been sick for a long time, so it's going to take some time to get us better, never mind "cured". I would imagine that lots of ignorant people who are just pushed through our gov't schools and graduated, so as not to make the schools look as bad, but they are smart enough to know a lawyer will talk to them about a potential lawsuit. don't they advertise all the time during the day when "Maury Povich" like shows are on?

  9. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

    Interesting answers, Burger. I think they are typical examples, how many doctors think and how they try to avoid any responsibility. Could you please paste your questions, too? I would like to read them cuz I tried to persuade my doctors many times, but I was rarerly successful.
  10. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    Fwiw, I'm surprised that an er doc would think this way. From my experience these docs
    are better at finding the problem and solving it than my regular docs. I'm sure it has something
    to do with what tests they're allowed to run immediately while the problem is there. Some tests will
    only be positive or more positive during acute episodes. For ex, my urine when passing a stone shocks
    most who see it. Before or after, it looks normal but when passing a stone it has blood and tissue. Also,
    my white blood cell count is extremely high but drops soon after the stone has passed.

    Maybe he's in an area where people use the er as opposed to seeing a gp tho. I only go in if
    I think I'm going to die if I don't tho. And never until I've tried everything I can think of.
    Typically by then, I'm ready to let them do whatever they want. Lol.

    My biggest problem after my cfs dx was being taken seriously. I can't tell you how many times I
    was told in a condescending tone that I was anxious or over reacting. I'd love for the people who said that to get ALL of
    my symptoms. I think it's the only way they'd learn what it's like to feel this disabled.

    I disagree with him on being afraid of being sued. I read that most patients don't sue for incompetence.
    And if they do it has to be a clear case. Maybe this is just hype that he's bought in to in order to
    justify doing less for patients.

    Tc ... X
    Valentijn likes this.
  11. PhoenixBurger

    PhoenixBurger Senior Member

    I agree that ER doctors are usually better than all the others. But he has a point that ER doctors aren't known for handling chronic illnesses. You are correct that they seem better for one important reason: they are given the freedom to order as many tests in short order, as they like. That is part of the culture change I was referring to that needs to pervade the new medical system. Testing is discouraged on every level.
  12. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    I think its a bit different in the UK. Paid by the big machine that is the NHS - our GPs in-particular are overpaid and don't like thinking outside the cold and flu box. And as for testing for anything, much justification is needed.
    They're guardians of the money pit and they do guard it ferociously. I was told I could have a x-ray when I asked for a dexa scan , I didn't tick any of the risk boxes other than age, despite chronic back pain, so I had to produce a privately paid for scan result from a couple of years ago which showed I had osteopenia befove he consented. Apart from 2 the other 6 doctorss at my surgery all work part-time, thats how much they are over-paid.
  13. PhoenixBurger

    PhoenixBurger Senior Member

    Fortunately the world of self diagnosing and phone apps which assist in such endeavours is on the way. As is self blood testing which is already available via sites like and others.
    undiagnosed likes this.

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