Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 6th - Doctors v. Veterinarians

The reality is that this was the first day in many where I wasn't in constant pain throughout the entire days ride.  For the most part all I had to deal with was the fatigue.  Although cutting down daily, I still completed 46 kilometers.
I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with a retired veterinarian from Port Hope.  As I have said many times, when I first found out I had Lyme, the way I found out the real scoop about this disease was not by seeing a doctor, but by speaking to veterinarians.  It is a sad statement when doctors know so little about a disease that is effecting the lives of thousands of Canadians, yet all of the four vets that I spoke to could have easily spoken on the subject for hours.  When it comes to Lyme disease, our pets get far better healthcare than we do.
Speaking to this veterinarian reminded me of something I had not thought of for a while.  It is not just Lyme that is being misdiagnosed.  Diseases such as Batonella, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain fever, and Tularemia are also commonly misdiagnosed in humans.  From my perspective, this is yet another problematic dysfunction of our healthcare providers that continues to fall through the cracks.  I look at my own doctor and his lack of foresight to even attempt to look into an area that was out of his comfort zone.  Had my doctor even remotely said to himself that my collection of symptoms maybe the result of an actual illness and not simply a product of my imagination or depression (what I call the doctors easy way out), he would have at least sent me to some form of specialist rather than believe that he was the expert - to which he most certainly was not.  Given the general state of accountability in our healthcare system, our self-regulating and self-monitoring doctors will never open this can of accountability worms.  No doctor is going to sit on a committee and properly punish a fellow doctor unless a ridiculous and outrageous act of negligence has occurred.  All that will ever happen is a slight tap on the wrist.
The bottom line is that until we change our healthcare providers attitude to align to that of a basic veterinarian skill set where you don't ignore the signs the dog is telling you, we will never have a healthcare system based on putting what the patient is going through first, rather than stroking the ego of the doctor that gets paid whether the patient receives good treatment or not.  If your vet screws up, he either doesn't get paid or there is recourse.  However, doctors in this country get to feed from the trough whether the patient lives or dies.  What really scares the hell out of me is the entire E-health situation.  Based on what I have been through with the Canadian healthcare system, there is literally not a hope in hell that I will ever go into a doctors office or an emergency room for the rest of my life, and not be hindered by the incompetence of what was written by my family doctor of over 15 years.  His incompetent misdiagnosis of the serious bacterial infection that I had for 19 years will follow me where ever I go.  This is something that E-health will only make worse - misdiagnosed Canadians will never get a second opinion, they will only get what the previous doctor said.  No doctor is going to shoot himself in the foot by going against the opinion of another member of the same club.  E-health is for the protection of doctors - not for the better treatment of patients as the doctors associations are currently spewing through the media.       

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