What Doctors Don’t Know   2 comments

I’m not sure how to put this.  It’s an observation based on all the doctors I have known.  This is it:

Doctors don’t know what they don’t know.

Self evident, I’m sure, once you’ve been in enough waiting rooms and offices.

I’m mentioning it just for food for thought as you look for answers to the latest flu virus, round of strep or pink eye, or your latest concern about your child’s development.  People have a tendency to believe that a doctor knows more than they do.  Yes, any given doctor does know much more than you do about things medical and biological and pharmacological, most likely.  So that’s true.

The problem is that any one doctor will not know how to solve your problem, unless your problem is a problem they’ve been taught to solve.

You might have a problem that particular doctor did not study and does not know about.

You might have a problem that is multifaceted.  It might be caused by malfunctions in more than one body system.  You might have a problem that most doctors aren’t even looking for.  If they aren’t looking, they aren’t going to find it.

Take autism, a disability that is caused by multiple factors.  Also one that we still don’t even have half the answers.  We have a great many theories, and there are great many therapies and medications that can be tried, many of which are helpful to any given child, some of which may not help same child.

But in this example, if your child’s symptoms of autism are 80% caused by a virus that has taken up residence in his body, but your doctor wasn’t taught to look for viruses that could be affecting your child’s behavior, you will get sold a different set of solutions.  Behavioral therapies, anti-anxiety medication, social skills groups, occupational therapy: all of these have their place in treating children with autism.  Yet there can be other causes of the difficulties nobody is looking for.

Another example of “not seeing” is chronic Lyme disease.  People dealing with this can be told they have any number of neurological and physiological problems.  Maybe even mental health problems.  Then a person finally sees a doctor who takes a few or many steps backward and looks for the bigger picture, runs some lab tests, and finds the Lyme spirochete.  You can’t get better if you don’t actually know what’s causing the problem.

Doctors work hard to know all that they can, because they want to help the patients they see.  But they are only human and can’t help only knowing what they know.

I suppose it should not be surprising that when a doctor has done all she can, and provided all the suggestions for lifestyle changes she knows, and had you try all the supplements and medications that she thinks might be helpful to you, that this doctor may be strongly tempted to tell you you’re better, even when you don’t feel better.

I can understand that tendency.  I’d probably do the same thing.

But having worked with doctors over time, I’d say the reality at that moment is that the doctor just doesn’t know what else to do.

Maybe another one does.

Keep looking.

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Posted February 18, 2015 by swanatbagend in health

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2 responses to “What Doctors Don’t Know

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  1. Your post really speaks to me! We all have Chronic Lyme and my son also has Autism. You are right that docs only have a certain set of solutions for medical issues that people are having. Keep looking for sure!

  2. Person Next to Me, thank you so much for your comment! Keep looking and I wish you and your family a cure.

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