liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

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Treat the Symptoms and Nevermind the Cause: Modern Medicine at its Worst

A friend sent me this abhorrent story that illustrates how modern medicine treats symptoms (palliates) instead of seeking the cause of the malady and a cure. This woman was given a half-baked diagnosis that could have been ruled out completely by properly interviewing the patient. And the diagnosis was not just incorrect, it completely missed the severity and seriousness of the problem. How could they!? Missing diagnoses like that could be fatal! We are instructed to go for the big, obvious diagnoses first and dig deeper as we rule those out, but seriously now folks. ARgh. OK, here's the story:

"A little over a month ago, I started experiencing a moderate amount of pain in my lower back. I took the day to get it checked out by the Student Health Center on campus, and they dismissed the problem as nothing more than a simple urinary tract infection and sent me off with an unnecessary prescription. Ten minutes after walking out of the Student Health Center, my pain became significantly more severe, and I was taken to the ER at West Anaheim Medical Center. There, I was given a painkiller in an IV and had a CT scan and another x-ray done. The ER doctor didn't know what was causing the pain, but he thought that the pain could be coming from my kidney area. After seeing the results of the x-rays, the possibility of a kidney stone was quickly outruled. The doctor gave me two medications (including Darvocet, a strong painkiller) and referred me to another doctor in Westminster who may have been able to pinpoint what the problem was.

"A week or two passed. I was slowly starting to get back into classes, including my dance work. This was painful, but I wanted to avoid getting a lower grade solely due to absences. I took the two prescriptions until they ran out, and they helped me get back on track. Still, my pain was not completely diminished. I saw the doctor that was referred to me after the ER visit, but she wasn't able to tell what exactly was going on. She prescribed me three more medications, narrowing the field down to a muscle spasm or a kidney/urinary tract infection.

"Another week passed, and I didn't notice a difference. My pain level started to increase again. The medications felt like they didn't have an effect on me, and I started to become consistently nauseous or dizzy. On Tuesday, October 7, my pain got to such an unbearable level that I was rushed to the ER for a second visit. A different ER doctor examined me, and couldn't find a definitive cause for the pain. Because I had already done a CT scan, he ordered an MRI to be done ASAP to double-check that I didn't have kidney stones or cysts.

"I spent the next day at a different hospital getting the MRI done and waiting (somewhat impatiently) for the results to come back. That day and the next were grueling for me- I was still in tremendous pain, and I couldn't stand up without feeling like I would fall over.

"This brings me to yesterday. I went back to the private doctor referred to me from the first ER visit. Fortunately for me, the results of my MRI came in when I walked into the office. I now know that my pain is due to two separate issues, one of which is definite. The MRI showed that I have two protruding discs in my lower spine (L2 and L3). This will be treated with pain medication and a steroid injection, and if neither of those stop the pain, surgery will be an option. The doctor also thinks that because of my constant nausea, my tenderness in the abdominal area and a high body temperature, I could have pancreatitis. I will need to have a few blood tests run to be sure, but my family medical history and my symptoms fit the bill. If it turns out that I do have pancreatitis, there is a good chance that I will be given medications to specifically treat that. If those medications don't work, I will have to spend some time in the hospital on an IV and an extremely restrictive diet.

"Right now, my first priority is getting healthy. That is why I will be in Northern California with my family for the time being. The earliest I will be in class will be Wednesday, October 15. I will have my blood tests run while I am home, and I will also be visiting my primary doctor, who has been treating me for almost two decades. Hopefully, with a new batch of prescriptions and a significant amount of time to rest, I will be ready to go straight into classes by next week."
Tags: diagnosis, drugs, medicine, pain, pancreas, spine, urinary system

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