Last week Doctor D told you about the dangers of doctor addiction. Today he's going to give you a twelve (actually 5) step program to save junkies!
Doctor Junkies feel an irresistible compulsion to see an MD every time they feel any physical discomfort form their bodies, resulting in risky tests and medicines as well as financial ruin for junkies and the healthcare system. While some responsibility for the problem rests with the junkies themselves, a lot of the blame for this can be laid on doctors who can be dealers and enablers for this deadly addiction.
Doctors are aware of the junkies in their lives. If you hang out with doctors (or read their blogs) you hear them complaining about junkies hitting them up for unnecessary care. "This patient of mine called an ambulance for a stubbed toe!" We gripe about our junkies, but we don't often propose solutions to improve the system that created this problem.
Well, today Doctor D is going to change that!
Doctors must take action to stop this madness before it gets out of control!
Here is Doctor D's plan to deliver our patients from the sad bondage of addiction to unnecessary medical care and lead them to the promised land of wellness!
1) Preach the Natural Healing Power of the Body.Here's a big secret we don't often tell patients: the human body has an almost magical power to cure itself when infected and heal itself when injured! Who knew? In fact, before modern medicine this secret self-healing power of the body was the only thing that cured sick humans, and believe-it-or-not the human race survived. Modern patients and modern doctors often forget the human body has the ability to heal itself. Doctors are trained to intervene in the rare situations when body's own self-healing fails, but before long we find ourselves intervening when the body is doing a fine job on it's own because we only thing of medical cures not the body's own self-healing.
Doctors need to be spokespeople for the body's own immune system! We should spread the word about the body's abilities. We must acknowledge that even in our "medical miracles" the body does most of the healing on its own.
If MDs preach the amazing healing ability of the body, doctor-junkies will believe their body can handle that runny nose a few days without running to a doctor.
2) Grow a Pair and Don't Piss Your Scrubs at the Mention of Lawyers!Most docs could easily educate patients on what symptoms usually aren't serious. Heck, we could give you a handout of all the symptoms that don't require a doctors visit if they are short lived: runny noses, coughs, joint aches, low-grade fevers, diarrhea, feeling yucky, etc. We could alleviate your anxiety with one therapeutic dose of knowledge.
Why don't we?
Doctors are terrified the information we give out will be used against us by blood-sucking lawyers.
We won't tell you to stay home with that runny nose because a nasal drainage could also be a symptom of a one in a million cerebrospinal fluid leak. We get terrified of missing zebras, so we kill a lot of horses. Fear of missing a rare diagnosis drives MDs to do irrational and dangerous things. We whip up doctor-junkies into a panic over their harmless symptoms and send them like lemmings over the cliff of over-doctoring.
Medicine is about taking risks. We risk your life every time we write a prescription or order a test. We should also be willing to take a risk by not doctoring conditions that are likely benign. There is risk either way, over-treatment protects us from lawyers, so physicians kill lots of doctor-junkies every year with big work-ups that are solely done to satisfy lawyers. Since we take risks either way, then we should practice with common sense and share our reassuring knowledge that most mild symptoms aren't dangerous with patients.
If blood-sucking lawyers want to sue me for using common sense, fine! Bring it on, bitches! Doctor D is ready!
3) Believe in preventionProper primary care can often prevent illness or catch it before it becomes serious. Fighting disease is only a secondary goal of medicine. Preventing serious illness is the real goal of primary care.
What does this have to do with doctor-junkies?
Doctor D has noticed a pattern that the MDs that give out the most unnecessary care to doctor-junkies are the same ones that suck at keeping their patients up to date on their preventive care. Coincidence? Nope.
Dangerous Doctorphilia is a need for the reassurance of receiving medical care. Preventative care fills this need in the safest possible way. Preventative care recommendations are constantly evaluated to insure their benefits far outweigh their risks. Appropriate preventative care and regular physicals can rehabilitate a former junkie. Their body has been checked for and vaccinated against most common problems. With prevention in their lives patients can have the confidence to weather minor symptoms without running to the ER.
4) Talk About the Risks of Medical Care.Most patients don't realize that even appropriate medical care can be dangerous. Doctor-junkies love pills, and tests, and X-rays. The more the better! I've had junkies accuse me of trying to deny them the good stuff they are due when I'm just trying to protect them. "Order more, doc. I've got insurance!" WTF?
The best time to educate patients is when we are do appropriate interventions.
Many people at some point in their lives get a serious illness that requires aggressive care. If the power modern medicine helped their serious illness, they assume the same weapon should be used on their minor symptoms.
So, Doctor D actually educates people about the risks of care when he is giving it appropriately, "Antibiotic have some very real risks and I wouldn't give them if I didn't think your infection was serious." A word like this can save a patient from the frustrating and dangerous life of a doctor-addict who will beg for antibiotics every time they get a cold.
5) Educate Fearlessly!Ultimately the cure for doctor-addiction is education. Instead of laughing at doctor-junkies' errors MDs should show them the light. Most doctor-junkies aren't stupid or irrational, they are just misguided about the proper use of medical care. It will take time and a bit of risk for doctors to show junkies a better way, but it is worth it.
After all, they are our junkies. Who is going to help them if not for doctors?
What do you think? Do you think this plan could will stem the tide of doctor-addiction? Have you ever had a doctor educate you on the power of your immune system or the risks of medical care? Did it help you avoid unnecessary medical care later?
As always Doctor D loves to hear your thoughts in the comments!