Saturday, February 19, 2011

Would You Like Fries With That?

Excuse the rant, but seriously?

I've seen electronics develop greatly since the time I was in medical school.  I remember getting my first Palm and "synching" programs to help make studying easier with my fellow colleagues.  I remember our brand new auditorium boasting that one day all of the students would be able to instantly download the lecture to their personal laptops.  Wow, how could a medical student afford the $3300 a laptop would cost....?

Fast forward to now where I look up everything from medication interactions, to the latest antibiotics therapies, to calculating free water deficits on my phone.  My laptop is my, almost, constant companion.  And that dream of one day using a tablet-based medical logging system is now becoming a reality.  I, of course, should have patented my App for that.

But, what I find hard getting used to is patients who come in and tell you what their problem is, how they would like it treated, and could you freshen their coffee while you're at it.

I have always advocated for patient rights.  I tell patients it's their responsibility to ask questions of their doctors so that they are well-informed about their illnesses.  But, really?  I've called primary care physicians at home to talk to their patients who come into the emergency department because they don't believe me when I tell them to stop their medications, and that, no, they won't die, well unless they don't stop their medications.  I know what you read on WebMD but that relates to a certain population which you're not a part of.  I know that "Diagnose That" said that because your skin looks green under a full moon you could have a metabolic disorder, but if you read further or did some more research,  the fact that you're still alive at 22 means you probably don't have something where the average survival age is 2.

I read somewhere that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing... just continue to quote the internet to someone who's dedicated at least 12 years of their lives to studying medicine. Mmhmm...


betty said...

I feel for you, Veronica. While I don't self diagnose myself (too much, LOL) I did self diagnose Koda when he was having his stress colitis issues, except when I quoted something to the tech at the emergency vet clinic, she said "don't believe anything you read on the internet, it is usually wrong". That put me in place, LOL. I am sure it is frustrating to deal with all the technology out there and how people can read about what they may or may not have. Makes you want to create a sign that says "if you think you know what you have, it will cost you double to see me :)

stay dry; we are getting lots of rain down here


ADB said...

A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing, Veronica. I am positively scared by people who diagnose themselves on the web, then come to the docs for a script for their antibiotics - which they don't need and may be allergic to.

Jeanie said...

I loved Betty's comment. lol
I agree with Guido too that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
You must have to have the patience of a saint Veronica. Good job you can go home at the end of the day and do something a little different from your day job.
Jeanie xx

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