Missed Connections: Why Doctors Should Talk to Each Other

Photo by: imagerymajestic and freedigitalphotos.netWhen one trains in university to be a family therapist, there is one principal that stands out on top of all others: “Get as many of the people who are involved into the room that you can.”

This makes perfect sense: If a kids’ misbehaving at home, there could be a hundred different reasons why, all of which the kid, themselves wouldn’t be able to iterate. Are the parents wishy-washy with punishing bad behavior, do the parents disagree with each other about what the rules should be, is enough time spent with the child, are siblings involved and instigating, etc.?

I once saw a woman in therapy for six months who complained of the inconsiderate, terrible treatment she received from her fiancee’. I was onboard with her story and thought she was this weak, scared and sad being… until he joined her. He sat there, all meek and humble, while she *shrieked* terrible insults at him for the entire 60 minutes. And my eyes were opened a bit more to what was wrong.

Well, this brings me to the first in a series of points I want to make about the US medical system. Why in the world was it allowed to be set up the way it is, now?

If one has a problem with their thyroid, for example, here is the rough list of symptoms: hair / skin changes (Dermatologist), bowel problems (Gastroenterologist), menstrual irregularities (Gynecologist), depression and anxiety (Psychotherapist) and neck pain (chiropractor).

The truly “fun” part is, NONE of these doctors will ever get into a room and talk to one another. Sure — They’ll send records back and forth… IF you remind them to. But with 15 minute, back-to-back appointments booked from morning until night, and the time outside of that it takes for them to fill out their own documentation… you can bet they’re not studying up on your file before they see you.

Let’s say in the above example that you go to your Dermatologist, first, with breakouts or dry patches. The Dermatologist will prescribe some topical cream and give it a go for weeks, maybe months, to see if it works. Then you end up at your Gynecologist due to skipped periods to find out if you’re pregnant. Pregnancy test comes back negative. Maybe they scan to rule out ovarian cysts, etc. All this broken up treatment is taking up time, letting the real illness run rampant in your body.

Finally, I have question that is a bit of an aside, but also fits in with this topic:

How the heck did dental get separated from medical treatment, altogether, and require its own (usually crappy) insurance?

A tooth infection can affect the blood. The roots of teeth can cause sinus pain. Conditions of the jaw can be related to swollen glands or other illness. Why is the dentist not right in with all the other specialists?

This division and lack of communication is one of many problems with the US medical system I will begin to explore. In my next entry, I plan to look at how doctors are rarely held responsible for their mistakes.

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