My question to the world is simple: “Where are the doctors that actually care for their patients?” Did aliens take them away? Did they go all John Galt on us? Are they hidden away in some secret government facility? I’m sure some can say that they know a decent doctor or had a great experience here or there, but I’ll bet many of you will change your mind after you read this.
Yes… I understand that there are good doctors who comprise some of what I’m going to cover here and I’m sure there are doctors out there who actually care. I just honestly don’t know where they are at. They clearly are not in my area of the world. However, as you read through this, you may find that you sympathize with what I’m asking here.
Let’s start with the idea that doctors are actually a leading cause of death in this country. Don’t believe me? A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Granted, some contest this number and that’s fine. Whichever number you choose to go with, it’s still considerably higher than just about every other cause of death, and that includes all gun-related deaths. I think our fear is a little misplaced. Have you ever thought of your doctor as an Assault-Doctor? Not that you would ever hear most doctors admit these statistics; that would require honesty. Still, either by negligence or simple apathy, the truth is that there are a lot of people suffering out there because a doctor isn’t doing a good job.
According to the National Health Council, generally incurable and ongoing, chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, representing more than 40% of the total population of this country. That’s a LOT of suffering. Now, I see a LOT of drug commercials for all this suffering, but I don’t see any commercials about doctors that are actually curing, and I sure as heck don’t see too many people raving about the almost miraculous things doctors are doing to help people out either. Instead, I see horrific things doctors are doing to suppress treatments and make money. So basically, people suffer and feel that they have no choice but to keep going back. It’s the perfect scheme.
Meanwhile, many of these chronic diseases could be greatly improved by addressing some basic nutrient deficiencies. That’s a big problem too because on average, U.S. medical schools offer only 19.6 hours of nutrition education across four years of medical school, according to a 2010 report in Academic Medicine. This is odd when you think about how nutrition relates to ACTUAL HEALTH! Sure, we could blame the chemicals, the vaccines, the food, the water, or even the people suffering, but wouldn’t doctors be able to at least help – even a little?
Doctors CAN help… if they wanted to. In fact, some doctors that are brave enough to stick to their oath are actually finding cures and really helping people out. They ARE out there! Of course, I only know about them because they have reached a certain level of celebrity for doing so. Unfortunately, you and I will never get any face-time with them because we don’t have that kind of money or because they have lost their license. But again… that leaves a lot of people to suffer in silence because most doctors aren’t like that. So what’s going on? To answer my original question, we have to ask ourselves quite a few other questions first. Like…
Where are all of the knowledgeable doctors? There are doctors out there that do not even know how to culture bacteria on their own. Instead, they often rely on third-party laboratories. This can create a problem when the doctor needs to diagnose something that is “out of the norm”. In the last decade alone, I’ve presented a handful of conditions or ideas to various doctors that hadn’t heard about what I was sharing – even though it was taken from a medical journal or even plastered all over the internet. I’ve even had one doctor that suggested that the appendix had nothing to do with digestion – even though it’s attached to the intestine and many resources suggest that the appendix is designed to protect good bacteria in the gut. If I can find this information… why can’t they? Not looking? Think they know it all already?
Where are all of the committed doctors? Am I the only one that feels that if your sickness isn’t on their list of symptoms that they can treat with a pill, they would rather you not be there? Where are the doctors that are actually interested in their patients? There used to be a time when doctors would try to help you through a problem. There used to be a time when doctors would go out of their way to discover the root of the ailment and then work hard to help get you back to health – then ensure that you stayed healthy. So what happened?
Where are all of the curious doctors? Modern medicine was founded on the blood, sweat, and tears of doctors that tried to discover. In fact, many of the cures that we have today are thanks to doctors that were curious. Today, medicine seems to be more about pill-pushing, planes, and fancy cars. Can you imagine a world where doctors were curious again? Can you imagine a world where doctors tried to find the truth instead of trying to line their pockets?
Where are the doctors that will communicate? Today, you call the doctor’s office and you talk to a nurse – if you’re lucky and only after you talk to the receptionist who is screening the call. When you do get some face-time with the doctor, it’s 15 minutes or less. The sad part is that you’re made to feel bad for asking questions or for taking up the time that you’re paying for. You leave the office and you’re driving down the road and then you realize that you forgot to ask a question because you were so nervous. You call… leave a message… and don’t get the detailed answer you were looking for because you were playing telephone with the receptionist, the nurse, and the doctor. The good news for you is that your doctor is available for another appointment that you can pay for.
Where are the courageous doctors? Where are the doctors that will try something new or try something different? Where are the doctors that will actually listen to their patients and take a moment to appreciate that the patient might actually know that the pain they are experiencing isn’t inside their head? Where are the doctors courageous enough to try some of the new methods that are having success? If we had a nickel for every time a doctor frowned upon something that has been shown to work but that the FDA or AMA didn’t subscribe to, we could probably retire.
Where are the doctors that advocate for their patients? This is a big one because too many times doctors are in it for themselves. True, some doctors have no choice but to refer to another doctor but when they do, they need to be next to them; trying to figure out what’s going on and making sure that the doctor that they referred you to is doing right by you. I get it… their patients are a paycheck. But maybe that’s the problem.
Where are the compassionate doctors? Where are the doctors that have empathy for their patients? Where are the doctors who are willing to follow up with their patients? Can you imagine how loyal a patient would be if they only had this? Can you imagine how much bigger a practice would be if the doctor became a part of the patient’s life again?
Where are the honest doctors? It’s no secret – the culture of medicine these days simply frowns on admitting mistakes, usually on the pretense of fear of malpractice lawsuits. I have personally been on the receiving end of this and when I pointed out the mistake (to merely redirect the effort), I was let go by the doctor because the doctor didn’t want the liability. What do you call a person that is willing to take your money, feels entitled to the money, doesn’t really help you, and will drop you like a bad habit if you point out a mistake he just told you he didn’t make?
Where are the doctors that take responsibility for their actions without being forced to? Imagine being prescribed a pill that does horrible damage to your organs. You examine the documents that came with the drug and it says to call your doctor right away if you have this or that. Well, you have this or that so you call right away. But instead of “let’s figure this out”, you get “This clinic isn’t a good fit for you anymore.” Seems crazy, right? Well, it’s happened to quite a few people and it’s personally happened to me. Yet, this is nothing compared to some of the stories I’ve heard and read about. How are these people still allowed to practice?
Where are the doctors that show respect to their patients? Can you imagine if doctors understood that a patient needs a doctor just as much as a doctor needs a patient and actually treated their patients as though they were valued customers? Novel thought, isn’t it? Think about it! Doctors can’t have a practice if patients are not willing to go to it. That’s why I often advocate writing reviews and choosing a different doctor (even though finding decent doctors is often difficult).
Where are the doctors with a sense of URGENCY? It’s hard to explain to someone what living with a chronic illness can be like. Heck, it’s hard to explain what an acute illness feels like. Minutes seem like days, days feel like weeks and weeks feel like years. Can you imagine what years feel like? But hey, since there is nothing their little sheet or limited education can illuminate in 15 minutes, and since they are not curious enough to explore with you, you can take a few pills and come back for another round of “I wish I knew” in another six months.
Sure, I could have simply asked “Where are the doctors that actually care for their patients?” but somehow that doesn’t ask it in a way to give it any justice. I’m sick and tired of doctors who put more faith in a drug than in finding a root cause. I’m sick and tired of doctors who quit at the first sign of anything that might bump them off their undeserving “God Status”. I’m sick and tired of doctors that think they know it all and won’t listen to anything but their ego. And quite frankly, I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired all of the time.
Of course, this is also why I’m not a fan of the idea of universal healthcare. I could care less about the money that would be extorted for its purpose, I just don’t like the idea of being forced to see someone who has ZERO interest in me or my family; doesn’t know or want to learn what I might be dealing with and someone who likely has less study time than I do. Furthermore, I don’t like the idea of someone feeling forced to practice medicine a certain way or someone not properly motivated to treat their patients. That’s a different discussion altogether but the point is that I want to know where the good, motivated, ethical doctors are at these days.
So here is what I propose. If you know of a doctor that embodies the contrast of what I’ve described (in any specialty), then lift them up and make them known to your friends and family. People like me would love to know where some good doctors are at. Leave a comment where you can. But more importantly, let’s stop doing business with doctors like the ones I’ve described here. By not doing business with them, they will not be doing business very long. By requesting the good ones, you’ll stomp out the bad ones. Start writing HONEST & THOROUGH reviews so that others can be warned away from the bad ones and be motivated to go to the good ones. We don’t want to empower the bad ones; we want to encourage the great ones. Get a second opinion! Understand that what they say IS AN OPINION based on what they know – which might be very little. So let’s try REAL reinforcement for once. Let’s celebrate the knowledgeable, curious, honest, compassionate, respectful, and committed doctors with a sense of urgency and help them succeed, and let’s ensure that they know exactly why we are supporting them!
Do you want to fix medicine? That’s how we can do it. One review at a time. And you know what? I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I’m going to start writing and publishing my reviews soon too. And not just on doctors. I’m going to use this platform to share my experiences with a lot of things.
You might also like my article titled “Beware of Some Medical Doctors.”
Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.