As I learned recently, the practice of medicine is one of the unlikely casualties.
In September, my wife began having abdominal pains. Her GP sent her to the GI specialist, who suspected Crohn’s Disease but found nothing. (Apparently Crohn’s is a very popular diagnosis these days.) The GI specialist said if she was in pain to go to the ER. The ER gave her pain meds and referred her back to her GP. After three and a half months of this shuffle, with all the doctors throwing up their hands and over a dozen ER visits, one ER doc decided she was just an addict seeking drugs and flagged her. Suddenly she couldn’t get either treatment OR pain meds. This left her in excruciating pain with no one interested in why.
Since then, two nurses and an EMT have told us that over 90% of the people who utilize emergency services are addicts looking for drugs – thus the assumption that if you’re in long-term pain, you are most likely an addict.
In an apparent conclusion to the story, a chiropractor met my wife casually and diagnosed her problem almost instantly based on her symptoms. He has been able to relieve her pain without drugs.
Having our hospitals supply drugs to addicts because it’s the only legal avenue is a ridiculous waste of resources. But more importantly, how can a doctor (or other health professional) practice medicine when he or she assumes that 90% of the patients are lying?