Are You a Real Doctor?

May 29, 2009

 

Every now and then I get a patient who asks me the above question.  My answer is usually very succinct and revealing, “Depends.”  

Wow, that just clears it all up doesn’t it?

The real answer is, it does depend.  What is your definition of a doctor.  According to Webster a doctor is a person skilled or specializing in healing arts, one (as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice.”

Hmm, that sure sounds an awful lot like what I do.

Another one I get, usually right after I was treating someone in the kind manner that I am known for, “Did you really go to school for this?”  No, you would be amazed at what you can learn from youtube these days!!  Of course I went to school for this.  As a matter of fact here is a breakdown in hours of my science education vs that of an MD, tell me if you can see a difference:

Subject

Chiropractic Schools

Medical Schools

 

Hours

% of Total

Hours

% of Total

Anatomy

570

40

368

31

Biochemistry

150

11

120

10

Microbiology

120

8

120

10

Public Health 

70

5

289

24

Physiology

305

21

142

12

Pathology

205

14

162

14

Total Hours

1,420

100

1,200

100


 As you can see our basic science training is virtually identical.  The MD’s spend more time in public health and we spend more time in anatomy and physiology.

As we both go along in school they take courses that are more medical in nature and we take courses more chiropractic in nature.  According to the Center for Studies in Health Policy, we will take 1975 hours in chiropractic science course work.

Hopefully this will answer those questions as to whether or not we received our training from the back of a matchbook cover 🙂

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I’m Sorry, Oh Wait, I am a Doctor, I Can’t Say That

May 27, 2009

Imagine if your loved one went into the hospital and passed away.  The Doctors tried everything that they could, yet, just couldn’t save this persons life.    If that doctor made a mistake saying sorry can be used against him/her in a malpractice lawsuit.

Currently there is a debate on Capital Hill as to whether or not doctors should be allowed to say sorry and not have it interpreted as an admission of guilt.

Let’s say your loved one had a stroke and the doctor knew there was a small chance to save her.  That doctor goes in and perfoms the procedure but unfortunately the patient dies anyways.  That doctor goes out to the family and says sorry, I tried to save Ethel’s life but the procedure didn’t work.   If that family decides to sue the doctor, the fact that they said sorry can be used against them.

I hope the lawmakers on the hill, who should have WAY more important things to worry about, use some common sense and allow doctors to express their sympathy without it hanging them in court.


How to Not Face the Recession

May 22, 2009

The American Academy of Family Physicians just released a survey where almost 90% of 600 family doctors reported their patients have expressed concerns about paying their bills and 87% were showing up with more signs of stress since the recession had started.

Ok, fair enough people are worried, what is disturbing is what they chose to cut down on in order to save money.

  • 25% of their patients with gym memberships planned to cancel them
  • 42% planned to buy fewer fruits and vegetables

This couldn’t be a worse strategy.  Fast food, no exercise and stress all lead to heart attacks, stroke and obesity.  Please let me assure you that the paltry amount you are saving will be wiped out in one trip to the ER, or one hospital admission.  Check your insurance policy, I bet you are looking at at least a $500 co-pay for the ER and potentially even more if you are admitted, where costs can run $500 a day and up.

Imagine how much healthy food you could buy for $2000-$3000 that  a typical heart attack or stroke would cost you.  This is the definition of being penny smart but pound foolish.  Still worried, start a garden.  Seeds are cheap, water is cheap and dirt is plentiful.  Put some labor into it and you will have a harvest.

 Can’t afford the gym?  Try getting a home workout video from the library, or go for a walk.  Push ups, wall squats and sit ups don’t cost a thing.   Check with friends about used exercise equipment that is doubling as a coat hanger…..trust me EVERYONE has these things sitting at home.  People will pay you to get rid of this stuff.

Now is not the time to cut back on the healthy things.  Now is the time to ramp them up.


240 747 Jets Are Going to Crash This Year, What Time is Your Flight?

May 21, 2009

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report in 1999 stating that 98,000 people die per year from preventable medical errors. 98,000!!!!!  Where is the outrage?  This is enough to fill Fenway Park 2.5 times.  The average 747 has 415 seats, if we filled them with people who die from medical errors, there would be 240 jets.

 

Since that report in 1999 that spurred congressional hearings, legislative bills and promises of reform.  How have they done?  According to an estimate from the CDC it has actually gotten worse, they are estimating that 100,000 people a year still die from medical errors. 

 

The IOM made 4 recommendations in 1999:

 

  • Implement safe medication practices.  There are 1.5 million preventable medication errors annually.  A large number of these errors come in the form of similarly named drugs.
  • Create accountability through transparency.  This pertains to reporting medical errors so the public can be aware of them.  Currently 24 states do not have any medical error reporting systems in place and most states that do are not publicizing facility specific information to the public.
  • Measure the Problem.  Almost impossible when the systems are not properly setup.
  • Raise the standards for competency in patient safety.  The IOM called for periodic tests of doctors’ and nurses’ competence and knowledge of safety practices.  In the private sector this has been launched, unfortunately the results remain fragmented.

 

So What Can We Do About It?

 

Do I blame the Doctors?  No way, these are great people who are working way harder than anyone realizes.  There is not one single doctor out there, that I know, who would ever want to hurt a patient.

 

In my humble opinion the biggest problem lies with you!  Yes You.  You are not allowed to take anyone’s word for it when it comes to your health.  It is up to you to take charge of what is being put in your body or what is being done to your body.

 

Stop looking at your doctor as a God and start looking at him or her as a consultant.  They offer you advice and recommendations, however, at the end of the day that doctor works for you and you only.  If you have a doctor that has that relationship backwards, fire him or her and find another one, there are tons of good ones.  Just ask around.

 

When you get prescribed a drug it is up to you to make sure you get what the doctor intended for you to get.  Similary named drugs are an area where there is huge amounts of errors.  Be a pest, make sure that the drug name matches exactly. 

Are you concerned about side effects?  It is up to you to look these up.  There is so much information online now, there is no excuse to not know what the side effects are for every drug you take are.

 

Action Steps

 

Lastly, how about taking better care of yourself so that you don’t need to see the doctor.  The road to wellness is littered with good intentions, you must take a couple of little action steps.  Try a couple of these things and see if you can cut down on the amount of drugs you need to take:

 

  • Eat fresh food.  Where I live there is a farm stand on every corner, try using one of them, you will be shocked at how much better fresh food tastes
  • Exercise.  Yes you have time.  Everyone does, it is just how much priority you put on it.
  • Monitor what you spend time thinking about.  What you think about is closely tied into your immune system.  Spend more time thinking on the positive and I promise you will notice a difference.
  • Keep your spine in shape.  I am a chiropractor, did you expect me to tell you something different?

 

This list could go on and on.  The key here is do something!!If you want more help or need some advice don’t be afraid to give us a call.  You can also follow me on twitter, search for drkevdc.


Can the Court Force You Into Care?

May 20, 2009

An interesting article came out today about a 13 year old boy who, due to religious beliefs, is refusing chemotherapy.

His parents believe in natural care and do not want to expose him to chemotherapy. He had one treatment and didn’t return for follow ups. According to the article the mom is treating the boy with herbal supplements, ionized water, vitamins and other natural alternatives.

The question here is, does the court have a right to force an underage child to receive medical care? What if people want to try a different method of treatment?

Where this gets sticky is he is a minor. If this were an adult then it is a no brainer, you get to treat yourself how you want.

Let’s assume that the court is operating with the best of intentions, for sure they don’t want to see anyone get hurt. My question is this: who gets to decide what is and isn’t medical neglect. If a person chooses not to vaccinate their children, has researched it and came to their own conclusions, are they guilty of neglect?

What about the person that feeds their kids McDonalds 6 times a week, are they being neglectful?

While I applaud anyone who doesn’t want to see kids get hurt, we are starting down a slippery slope of judging what people believe.

If you want to read the whole article you can see it here