I’m so glad I’m a veterinarian and not a physician. Not to disrespect the whole human medical profession, but holy smokes what a mess it’s become. Some of it is entirely beyond the individual physician’s control, but come on – the entire profession can do a better job if it just tried to be a little more like us. So many times I’ve had clients say, “I wish you could be my doctor.” After a few recent doctor visits I understand that sentence even more.
I’m glad I’m a general practitioner too. We pride our selves on treating the whole patient – that’s why it’s called Holistic Medicine. Human practice has become so specialized that each doctor will only look at the small body section she specializes in. No one seems to put the whole picture together anymore. Two weeks ago I went to see a back specialist for a new leg issue. This is a high powered well respected doctor, a graduate of both Harvard Medical and Law schools. Maybe he should have stuck with the judge’s robes. He didn’t even touch me during my “exam” didn’t even ask where it hurts. Took a look at an xray film, pre-formed some opinion in his head and made recommendations without even a real exam. I would never do that for one of my patients. And they can’t even tell me where it hurts (although during a careful exam they do). Next I went to a hip specialist. He at least did touch me briefly but stated he had no idea what was going on with my lower leg and just focused on his little section of the body and injected my hip. I thought, “Why not. If it helps, great.” Well it didn’t. So guess it’s on to the next “window” specialist.
I understand now why so many people turn to the internet, perform self treatment and seek “alternative” methods of treatment. Medicine is failing us. I know it’s partially the fault of the system -third parties dictating costs, payments and number of patients seen. Seems like it’s all about through-put these days.
My practice is not like that. Each and every patient gets the same level of insight, care and dedication to helping with whatever ails it. It’s how we veterinarians are trained. Conscientious ones keep that up. I know we’re not all perfect every time. I know there are some veterinary practices which are beginning to practice like our human counterparts. We see their patients all the time for additional opinions. People are craving that human touch.; to be treated with dignity and made a part of the health care decision team.
Physician heal thyself may be an appropriate phrase to apply to medical practice in the US these days. Our counterparts have a lot of thoughtful re-adapting to do. I’m sure there are some great human practitioners out there. I’d love to know where they are. Maybe I can convince them to become veterinarians because I sure am glad I am one.