Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Your Decision

I've been to the doctor and had a troublesome cyst cut open and drained. Ugly! And painful as well. But it feels so much better, despite the large and painfully slow injection in the hip I had to endure afterwards as they pumped me full of antibiotics. But… once again I was reminded of the current and disturbing practice among medical professionals of letting the patient decide what should be done. This morning, after surveying the scene of the swelling cyst, the doctor says; 'You have two choices. I can give you antibiotics and send you home. That should take care of the infection in a weeks' time. Or, I can cut it open and squeeze all the evil out of it and then give you an antibiotic and you'll be fine in a weeks' time. Which would you like me to do?' He's asking me? He has a medical degree on the wall; I have a blue ribbon from the Lassen County fair on my wall; why would I know the correct answer? (I chose the more dramatic method; I wanted it out and I wanted it out now!)

This deferral to the patient in all of his or her supposed wisdom is idiotic. And all of the doctors do it. It's an epidemic!

A couple of years ago, the doctor wanted to know if I would like to have a colonoscopy? Like? I don't think that's the proper word to use here. A couple of weeks ago, a doctor told me all the details of the cystoscopy and then turned to me and said, 'Would you be interested in having that done?' Of course I wouldn't, you idiot! Who would? Go ahead and name any medical procedure and then ask yourself if you would be 'interested' in having it done? I want it to be necessary and I want the doctor to tell me it is. I want doctors to be more like…doctors; and not like a concierge.


  1. I've had a similar experience of a doctor asking me how I would like to proceed on a health condition and it left me confused: you're asking my opinion?!? But maybe your doctor was just checking to see how desperate you were, whether you were willing to undergo a surgical procedure for relief?

  2. Anne, you could be right... but I had this feeling that he was asking for absolution. (and his insurance company requires him to speak this way!)

  3. Absolution, right! So if it turns out to be the wrong course of action, well, your fault not his.

    The twists and turns of a liability-and-insurance culture!

    In my neighbourhood my grandson's favourite play structure just got torn down because it is situated at a now-vacant school and the school board (or their insurer) fears liability if a child falls off of it. Said grandson keeps staring at the hole in the ground, Where did it go? Did I only imagine it was there?