Recently, I heard it said on the TV show Mad Men that the character, Don Draper, was impressed doctors had figured out a way to make money by not helping their patients.
I believe that’s more of a comment on modern times than actually happened forty years ago, but since I wasn’t alive then I can’t say for sure. I can only comment on my own experiences.
I have a heart… condition? Irregular heart beat? One doctor could hear it when listening through her stethoscope. I was impressed. The other dozen doctors I’d been to couldn’t figure it out, but perhaps this referral will help? I could have cardiomyopathy and not yet know it. I hope that’s not the case.
Last winter, three of my toes got all red and swollen and itchy. After a month of putting up with it, I visited my Dr. (I don’t actually have a Dr., I just see who is in “The Practice” that day.)
I was referred to two doctors. One to test me for arthritis, the other to check my cardio, to be sure my toes were getting blood and wouldn’t spontaneously fall off.
I went to the second Dr. first… No clue, but he referred me to two more doctors. I grilled him a bit, asking why he didn’t know what it was. He says, “I’m not a foot doctor.” In my naivete, I assumed I would have been referred to a FOOT DOCTOR!
Frustrated, and with three appointments lined up, (Scratch that, four, the non-foot doctor wanted me to follow up with him in a month’s time.) I at last hit the internet in search of – there it is. Result number one. Chilblains. Problem solved.
Now, docs usually say the Internet is not a good diagnostic tool. 50% of me agrees with them. Or at least, 50% of the population shouldn’t use it as such. I imagine it cuts into their business. After all, I promptly cancelled all four appointments after learning my problem was related to the COLD WEATHER and that the cure was moving south. (I will, trust me, I will, as soon as possible.)
Being a doctor is being in business. I guess I should know and understand that. But I just can’t help but feel as if I’m being ripped off. As cautious as we’ve become of the auto-repair guy saying you need a new engine when you go in for a tire rotation, so should be we leery of the doctor who doesn’t cure you, saying you need to see two more – and different – doctors.