Modern Medical Practice: Overdiagnosis, Ignoring What Matters
It should scare you that the vast majority of doctors are incompetent at estimating medical risks, literally worse than monkeys and a dart board. These are the folks that put you on pills for a lifetime, or surgery-out things that are not likely to ever be an issue, based on rampant overdiagnosis. It’s a mess, and an expensive one—psychologically, financially, physically.
As someone trained in mathematics, statistics, operations research (risk management), I regularly observe the gaping cracks in medical reasoning. And how “you are not a doctor” is the first refuge of the incompetent when it comes to discussion of medical issues.
So I am not going to “stay in my lane” when I have far more training than most doctors on how to evaluate risks, and far more interest in my own health than any doctor ever would. Getting it right is an imperative for me, but not for them.
Few doctors would entertain learning anything from a patient in a professional setting. This is evident to me from years of dismissive comments and a failure to ask meaningful questions. Or maybe it’s just lack of self-confidence? And invariably an unwillingness to say “I don’t know”—which is the first prerequisite to gaining knowledge.
“Trust your doctor” is for the intellectually AWOL
First to praise doctors: great stuff for standard fare, like repairing my torn-up face after a bike crash, or making my calcified shoulder joint operational again, or fixing my appendicitis. I have total respect for that kind of “hard” medicine. Everything else... not so much.
“Trust your doctor” is for the intellectually feeble. I listen to my doctor(s), but trusting their judgment is a wholly different matter, due to a 4-decade track record of medical incompetence for me. No one but you will care enough to find the best solutions. Never mind that doctors often disagree with each other!
The most serious damage to me in my life came from the medical profession: nerve damage from Metronidazole (uncommunicative doctor who prescribed too much), and a failure to diagnosis my obvious concussion (resulting in considerably more brain damage).
There have been other lesser but just as incriminating failures, such as failing to cure my asthma for 35 years—with nutrition never ever discussed. Then there are the unnecessary antibiotics, pointless tests (overdiagnosis), my borderline-obesity BMI while at 8% body fat, etc. Oh, and the decades of blood pressure medicine for my mother, which I got her off using magnesium while also curing a serious two-year infection—so much suffering from clueless doctors who would never even consider nutrition. No organism can be healthy without excellent nutrition yet it is ignored as a factor by nearly every doctor. Too challenging to deal with the single most important factor!
But I don’t blame individual doctors, as they are caught in the steel web of the medical-industrial complex. It’s a paint-by-numbers money-making enterprise in which the most important things are ignored—the patient as a whole, and his/her total health via nutrition.
Recent experience — doctor doesn’t listen, seeks to treat irrelevancies
As of July 2021 I am still suffering from severe low-energy problems stemming from an April 2020 infection, presumed COVID and its aftermath, Long Haul COVID, but maybe caused buy a Epstein Barr Virus infection precipitated by the COVID. Rest and nutrition have not made the issue go way. I have had periods of recovery then relapse.
There are at least two auto-immune indicators: positive thyroid peroxidase test (but with normal TSH), and rheumatic issues in hands and the body that come and go suddenly. So maybe it’s just that my body is screwed up from the infections.
I do what I can when I can, as my energy bank account allows me. To put it roughly by numbers, I am operating physically at 10%, and mentally at 50% (in terms of fatigue). Some days are near-normal, others a total wipeout. Sleep needs can be very high some days, and normal others.
After a year now, it’s a seemingly intractable problem, but I have confidence that I will emerge from it with my former superpowers. No other attitude will do.
Tone-deaf doctor visit
I went to my doctor in May about the fatigue (this follows earlier useless visits to two doctors including an annual physical which showed all systems normal). This time, it felt like both bait-and-switch, and guesswork.
Guesswork as in “maybe it’s Lyme” resulting in taking doxycycline for ten days, with no change whatsoever. I was 99% sure that Lyme was not the answer (no probable genesis), but I took the antibiotic, feeling desperate. The western blot Lyme test turned out negative tool.
Bait-and-switch as in the doctor’s obsessive-compulsive focus on the calcium incidentaloma found in my heart in 2018. I’ve had zero clinical cardiac symptoms including doing things (until recently) that 99.99% of the population could never think to do, and at altitudes up to 14500 feet! This is what my doctor overdiagnoses as a problem, based on an incidental finding.
My doctor took my blood pressure as 116/64 with a heart rate of 42. Then an EKG which was totally normal. He then suggested I should do a cardiac stress test. WTF? This doctor knows I have done de facto stress tests for my daily workouts (before the fatigue) for 10 years. Why does he feel the need to test for a non-problem? Classic overdiagnosis.
Furthermore, weak as I am, I can handle 12000 feet elevation carrying 40 pounds with no pulmonary or cardiac issues whatsoever (moving very slowly due to fatigue, but I did it this prior month). At the worst of my weakness last year, I could hold my breath for 100 seconds at 12000' elevation. What doctor in their right mind can look at that and insist there is a problem to test for and solve?
I came for the doctor visit because of a life-altering fatigue problem which has severely degraded all aspects of my life. And this doctor wants to run an expensive test for a “condition” that has zero clinical manifestations, and for which there is no justifiable treatment. He is so focused on this non-issue that he doesn’t have a clue what matters to me. My fatigue issue is not solved, not helped in even the smallest way.
So I listen to my doctor(s), but I do not trust them. Becaue they do nothing to make me think they have either worthwhile knowledge, let alone wisdom, let alone solutions. el web of the medical-industrial complex.