Thursday, June 14, 2007

What doctors REALLY think... and preliminary thoughts on interdisciplinary health

"Research is a real problem. Doctors just make up the data. They don’t report negative side effects, no question about it."

Someone at New York magazine had a brilliant idea a few weeks ago.

"If I ask a bunch of doctors a bunch of questions," they pondered, "but promise them anonymity, just think all the great dirt I'll be able to print! They'll be so straightforward and honest, I'll be one of the few people on earth to know what doctors really think."

Someone at New York magazine seems to have forgotten about the medical blogosphere.

Every day, countless doctors rant anonymously about the dirt that goes on in hospitals. They just happen to do so in the form of blogging.

But someone at New York Magazine ended up doing the interview, writing the article, and hey, it got published. How Comrade found this article in the New York magazine online four full days ahead of print, I'll never know, but thank him, since you'll probably find it quite interesting.

Selected highights, my smartass comments in italics:

  • Why you have to wait so long in a doctor's waiting room.
    It's because you are not the doctor's only patient.

  • Doctors make up research data.
    Did you know that 86% of statistics you hear are made up on the spot?

  • The way we train doctors now is worse than it used to be, because the residents who do surgery on patients are now allowed to do surgeries after they have had time to sleep.
    Yeah, you'll have trouble convincing me of that one. Say it with me: "Old-Boy's-Club."

  • Patients have to wait for 45 minutes after they press the call button, not because nurses are standing around chatting, but because there's a nursing shortage.
    Hmm, so it's not just in Canada, eh?

  • Doctors think that "By virtue of our training and knowledge, we can get away with... treating patients like shit."
    Strange, it took me only one year's worth of med school finals to get that feeling. At this point, I call it self-respect. Three more years of this and you'll probably call it me being an asshole.

  • A doctor admitted to dropping a baby once.
    You think that's a big deal? Read the next one.

  • Doctors feel powerful when they've killed somebody.
    I told you you need to read this article.
    Here's the link again.

After reading that article, I'm surprised that even at my early stage in the game, a lot of it I could have told you. A good chunk of it is, in fact, common sense. Think about it. Doctors like seeing patients that don't yell at them. Surprise. You have to wait in the waiting room for a long time because, well, doctors are seeing other patients. Surprise again.

But there's one thing that I'm surprised they didn't mention. It's...wait a minute, what? you want my opinion?

Sorry, but apparently in training for making a living by, well, mostly giving my professional opinion, it's been made abundantly clear that I am not to provide medical opinions of any sort. Not even to a friend who asks about their cold. Or growth. Or whatever.

Of course, I'll give you my opinion anyways. That's what this blog is all about. But here, I'm protected by my fancy disclaimer at the bottom of this page. Yeah, it probably provides little more protection than did those fancy flying-squirrel-like jumpsuits that early would-be aviators donned before jumping to their deaths, but at least it's something.

So here's what I think. I'm surprised the article didn't ask any of the doctors their take on the "interdisciplinary health team" that everybody is talking about.

I was talking about this interdisciplinary health thing with a nurse friend of mine the other day. I was going with that old joke that I find so funny (that no nurses see any humour in at all), telling her, "I can't wait until I've graduated med school so I can boss around nurses." (That is NOT how I will approach nurses on the wards...trust me, I know better.) But after we got back on speaking terms, we got into this talk about interdisciplinary health care - a concept that is very interesting, considering how little of it I've heard in my med school curriculum.

Medicine these days is supposed to involve all "health professionals" on an "equal playing field" - doctors, nurse practicioners, nurses, licenced professional nurses slash registered practical nurses (depending on your geographical location), respiratory therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, naturopaths, quack cure-all syrup salesmen... (uh, in no, particular order...I swear...), all working together in perfect harmony like oompa-loompas churning out everlasting gobstoppers. If that's the case, though, and if it's the new wave, how come I haven't been taught that yet in medical school?

But that's another story for another day - I have a rant on that waiting in the wings...to be continued.

Click here to read the continuation of this post.


2 comments:

Anonymous Therapist said...

I've heard a lot of talk about interdisciplinary healthcare, but it always winds up being the same as it ever was: nurses and ancillary people like me look at the patients, then the doctor gives orders. A lot of places implement protocols and stuff, which are supposed to ease the burden on both ends but which in probably four out of five cases wind up just causing confusion and disorder.

It's a great idea, but the application thus far? not so much.

And what's with that NY article? All that stuff is either obvious or non-factual.

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