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Why are doctors seemingly so incompetent?

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    I had severe ear pain for over a year, it was hurting so much sometimes I would just lie in bed and cry. It was absolute agony. I saw about 8 different NHS doctors and none of them helped at all. They all looked in my ear, saw nothing and said I must be fine. I was not fine, I was in agony. So when I was back in the US I saw a doctor there, 15minute consultation, she gave me a nose spray as she concluded my eustachian tubes must have been blocked. 3 weeks of using the spray later....no pain!

    And that's not even starting on the treatment I've had from the NHS for mental health issues. :dry:
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    (Original post by AlmostChicGeek)
    Pretty big mistake I would say, and such a simple one. Still, good on you I suppose, although I still question it a bit seen as how your mum was in a coma.

    I almost went private - gave them time to sort it out and rectify their treatment of me first however. In my area it has been discovered that they are fixing the waiting list, so it isn't just me with this problem.
    Hmm, maybe coma was the wrong word, but rather heavily sedated to the point where she was asleep all the time (for her first week and half at ICU)? She needed to have her immune response system weakened greatly, to allow a few antiobiotics to flush the poison out the blood system, and have a few blood transfusions, as well as the fact most of her organs were being supported to work by various machines as they weren't capable of working on their own. So I imagine with all that going on, probably best t have kept her heavily sedated (i guess coma is the wrong word, as it's related to the slowing of blood rate around the brain? the brain wasn't affected during the ordeal :P thankfully)
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    I respect doctors totally but GPs make me angry. My mum has had cancer twice. In the second instance she went to her GP four times before switching GP and then had to go a further 3 times until they permitted her to get checked for cancer. She had four kids under 5 and because it was at such a late stage she had to undergo really intense and sudden chemotherapy.

    I don't even bother to go see my GP any more. Every time I've gone he's been completely useless. Plus, I have to book to see him and he regularly cancels and postpones our meetings. It's like he takes the job as a complete joke. I've been to see him about my weight, which is very low, and I've tried to get advice on gaining weight: he basically says "Eat More" and take these leaflets on obesity.

    I DON'T GIVE A **** ABOUT OBESITY. DO I LOOK OBESE? YOU CAN SEE MY RIBS WHEN I LIFT UP MY SHIRT!!! I DON'T NEED LEAFLETS ON LOSING WEIGHT!!! *tears hair out*. He's also suggested I have an eating disorder and even though I have controlled my eating in the past it is no longer an issue and he never listens to anything I say. He lists all the health complications I face by having such a low BMI and then does absolutely nothing to help me with it. It's excruciating.
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    I told a doctor that I had dislocated my shoulder and it had managed to pop back in. He didn't believe me. Same thing happened again, same result. It was only when I'd needed an ambulance with my shoulder dislocated and not popped back in that he believed me. I would be so much better off if it weren't for him and he believed me the first time, so I hate doctors these days.
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    (Original post by Norton1)
    I think the condition you are actually suffering from is 'hypochondria'
    The doctor diagnosed me with flat feet and depression, others confirmed I have a tight foreskin and a post-nasal drip, I don't need a diagnosis for acne scars, and the chest pains were only made known because my Mum took me, I wasn't going to go on my own accord.

    Hypochondria is not when someone has several DIAGNOSED conditions. It is when someone thinks they have every disease going, when in reality they don't.

    Take your snide comments somewhere else, because, like I said, none of these problems are made up.

    (Original post by carpe diem 123)
    WOw, you've had a lot of ailments over the years......

    Not really, not severe ones anyway. Dyspraxia came with flat feet, acne, depression, tight foreskin and a post-nasal drip probably due to common allergies... Nothing substantial.

    (Original post by Gangee)
    Perhaps they're becoming a little frustrated due to the excessive amount of times you've been to see them?
    Nonsense. This was over a 4 year span. And this is spread out over several doctors and practices due to moving... People are so quick to judge.
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    Every GP I went to see between the ages of 13-16 told me that my symptoms were 'a teenage thing' that everyone my age goes through, and that I'd grow out of them eventually. I ended up having a really bad time with glandular fever and bronchitis (not life-threatening, I know ) because they refused to give me the right medication (or, in the case of glandular fever, a blood test and the right advice as to how to deal with it). It was even worse when I went to see them to get referred to see someone about my depression symptoms, because all of them refused to believe I had depression, and kept telling me that it was just hormones.

    They've stopped with this now I'm older, but this kind of response has always irritated me. I have huge respect for doctors and nurses, and honestly would give them the same wages as footballers if I were PM, but I've talked this over with some of my friends and they've had the same response given to them: it's just hormones. I don't know whether this is just my surgery, though...:dontknow:

    (Sorry for talking about myself a lot. I tend to do so when I have nothing better to do )
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    (Original post by kog)
    Hmm, maybe coma was the wrong word, but rather heavily sedated to the point where she was asleep all the time (for her first week and half at ICU)? She needed to have her immune response system weakened greatly, to allow a few antiobiotics to flush the poison out the blood system, and have a few blood transfusions, as well as the fact most of her organs were being supported to work by various machines as they weren't capable of working on their own. So I imagine with all that going on, probably best t have kept her heavily sedated (i guess coma is the wrong word, as it's related to the slowing of blood rate around the brain? the brain wasn't affected during the ordeal :P thankfully)
    Fair enough, I suppose, I'm not trying to change your opinion, just giving you mine on yours (Although admittedly you didn't ask for it).

    I just can't imagine how you aren't upset at that, considering the implications it could have had, whilst I am extremely upset at their treatment of me recently.

    As a child they saved my life, and were brilliant, I admit that completely, without them I wouldn't be here and neither would my mum.

    But this NHS midlothian have been crap for me, they are being investigated for rigging the waiting lists. It angers me that they would do that to patients, and many wouldn't fight against that, and they are taking advantage of those people. I hate to think that patients can be boiled down to just a number, when there is a real person waiting for help, and I'm sure there are people with worse illnesses than myself.

    I was practically housebound I was in so much pain, I had doctors not paying attention/downplaying my condition, and that does make you feel a bit embittered

    Particularly when you set your hopes on a surgery date to end the pain (which you have been assured of), and they try to fob you off with excuses and lies.
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    Yep, completely know what you mean. I don't go to the doctor's any more because of reasons like that (although I do go once in a while just to see if I can restore my faith in them).

    I've been to the doctor's before as a result of a recurring problem that has filled my medical notes. There is literally the same thing on each set of notes and the same treatment prescribed. None the less I was told that I was wrong and to get over it and if I still think I know better then to come back.

    I also went in with a bad case of RSI that kept me up at night and was told to get over it (although thankfully he actually looked at my arm this time).

    It's a shame because I had a wonderful doctor back home but now I'm at uni I'm stuck with doctors who just don't seem to care for another year.
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    (Original post by AlmostChicGeek)
    To be honest I don't know why they are so incompetent.

    After moving to uni I had to change, and the new surgery is pretty ****ty.

    I had been in pain for about a year before they finally figured out what was wrong. They kept telling me I couldn't have endometriosis, even though I had all the symptoms for it - because of my age.

    Finally because nothing else was working they did surgery, but this is after months of appointments, me researching, them ignoring/being pissed about me researching/them telling me I couldn't be in that much pain if I am at the doctors (FYI, if you have to choose between severe pain and no help, or severe pain and possibly getting help, you pick the latter).

    Guess what? I have endometriosis. If they had accepted that it was possible then I would have been closer to treatment (still haven't found the right treatment, this is like three months on from the surgery). Many women I know took them 10 years to get diagnosed with Endometriosis, because there is some kind of 'general knowledge' that only older women get it. Yeah, thats because it takes you 10 years to diagnose it.

    Oh and the best bit is, endometriosis is there from birth, why would you need to be older to have it?!

    I genuinely think it is hard to get a good doctor these days, the amount of crappy ones I have seen, and then don't get me started on the waiting lists. They rigged the waiting lists, lied to me about when I would be put on the waiting list, and I had to kick up **** in order to get the surgery when they told me I would.


    Sorry this turned into a big rant, I just have a huge bee in my bonnet about the NHS and their treatment of patients atm, I am obviously just going by my experience.

    TL;DR
    Basically, I agree, they are generally crap. At least in my experience.
    Wow, another endo person!

    It is far too hard to get a GP to take 'women's problems' seriously... Mine were sure I was internalising (non-existant) abuse as a child. (Yeah, that explains the chronic pain so bad I faint and throw up).

    There was actually a study done in the seventies (I believe, I'm going by memory) where newly qualified doctors were presented with two cases of chronic pain, one presented by a male patient and one by a female. The majority of the doctors (both male and female) would refer the male for specialist treatment and tell the woman to seek psychiatric help. This study was repeated in the last decade and there was no significant change reported.

    Also, every doctor I've seen (and believe me, I've seen many) has told me not to join support groups and not research my symptoms online. Because asking people who have been in the same situation as you for advice is completely illogical.
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    (Original post by LaBelleEtLeBete)
    Wow, another endo person!

    It is far too hard to get a GP to take 'women's problems' seriously... Mine were sure I was internalising (non-existant) abuse as a child. (Yeah, that explains the chronic pain so bad I faint and throw up).

    There was actually a study done in the seventies (I believe, I'm going by memory) where newly qualified doctors were presented with two cases of chronic pain, one presented by a male patient and one by a female. The majority of the doctors (both male and female) would refer the male for specialist treatment and tell the woman to seek psychiatric help. This study was repeated in the last decade and there was no significant change reported.

    Also, every doctor I've seen (and believe me, I've seen many) has told me not to join support groups and not research my symptoms online. Because asking people who have been in the same situation as you for advice is completely illogical.
    Hey!

    I know right? It really insane. My new doctor is better - he is young and new so I think that may be why. When I went to see him when I was considering going private he was so lovely, and I was so upset, so that helped a lot.

    I would try a new doc if you can - one will eventually listen (I hope!).

    Have you finally got treatment now?

    And yeah I know, my first doc was pissed off that I had researched - I printed some stuff off the internet - but they weren't helping so I tried to help myself.

    I'm lucky I know a few people that have it, so they could give me some advice. I think it would be a good idea to join a community, it can be really hard going it alone!

    I mean it was so hurtful when one doctor was like 'I can't believe you are in as much pain as you say you are' basically just not believing me at all. You start to wonder if you are just going to have to live in pain forever!

    I was kinda glad they found some, in a petty way, just to prove to them I hadn't been lying!
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    Fortunately I've been very lucky with the doctors I've seen in the past, and only have good things to say about them all.

    I have heard some bad stories from friends and colleagues about their experiences though.

    I think, as an above poster said, it really is important to remember that GPs have a broad knowledge of a whole range of conditions, so they are going to get it wrong sometimes!
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    I had Lymes Disease several years ago and was misdiagnosed twice by the same doctor who claimed that my 'bullseye rash' was an allergic reaction (which in any other circumstance would have been acceptable), another doctor then said that my back spasms were related to trampolining at school when actually it was to do with the illness. I was only sent to hospital 2 months later by yet another GP because I had facial paralysis on both sides of my face, she's now the only GP at the surgery that I trust fully.

    I do think that doing some of your own research helps a hell of a lot, especially because you may be more familiar with the ins and outs of your problem then they are. Doctors aren't miracle workers, you've got to give them a little help because it is your body at the end of the day.
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    They can be annoyingly slow... I started complaining of shooting pains in my legs when I was about 8 or 9, but the time I was 17 the agony was so bad that climbing the stairs was a struggle. It took me about 7 years to get reffered to a rheumatologist, who within about 20 minutes had pretty much figured it out. To be fair, it's a quite rare conditon (1 in 100k) the only thing that annoyed me was when they said that the pains were probably growing pains. If they'd LOOKED at my notes they'd have noticed that I've hardly grown since I was 12.... :dry:
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    There's a lot wrong with the healthcare system, but at least we have one and it's free, better than nothing if you can't afford to go private. I've had a lot of bad experience with doctors particularly with talking about being referred to mental health services. When I was about 15 I went to be re-referred, and I couldn't really describe what I was feeling very well but I definitely knew it was wrong and the doctor's disbelief and patronising attitude really dented my confidence about doctors. He made me seem like I was a complete idiot and that I was exaggerating things just because I was a teenager. He did "do his job" and refer me (if he didn't that really would be cause to complain, though I couldn't really in the condition I was in) but the way he went about it was pretty ridiculous. They're overworked, the system is underfunded because of the current government, but also peoples' backgrounds mean that sometimes people go into training to be a GP and study biomed/dentistry etc. just because their parents will think they're failures if they don't. They don't have passion and they might not necessarily be thorough with reading your records. It's a problem with society really. Silly mistakes save lives and they should be paid a lot more, but they should be thorough and not take such a lax attitude. And they should be trained to deal with mental health properly, and how to deal with different patients.

    I saw a lovely doctor today and she was amazing and talked about everything I'd been through without batting an eyelid and made out that it was actually a pleasure to see me and apologised for the waiting time of about 40 minutes. I'd gladly wait that amount of time to see her again. I think you just have to find the right doctors. You're right, a lot of them really fail at their profession.

    Edit: I wish you could complain to authorities about attitude problems, it's so important to have the right attitude and treat people right and make them feel welcome AS WELL AS treating the condition. Not treating them right means they'll be reluctant to go back. There's a lot wrong with society. I'd like to change it really but I don't know how to go about it, I'm glad there's some concordance with what you guys are saying and my experiences, I hope we'll be the generation to change a lot of things.
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    About the flat feet, doctors are incredibly competent. My father instead researched around and devised an exercise plan for me and i was able to cure them. Took 10 years, but hey, mended my feet
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    (Original post by rosee92)
    They can be annoyingly slow... I started complaining of shooting pains in my legs when I was about 8 or 9, but the time I was 17 the agony was so bad that climbing the stairs was a struggle. It took me about 7 years to get reffered to a rheumatologist, who within about 20 minutes had pretty much figured it out. To be fair, it's a quite rare conditon (1 in 100k) the only thing that annoyed me was when they said that the pains were probably growing pains. If they'd LOOKED at my notes they'd have noticed that I've hardly grown since I was 12.... :dry:
    I know little kid who's had exactly the same symptoms and doctors have said it's growing pains too. I told his parents to go to a specialist but they haven't bothered, I was wondering if you could tell me what condition the rheumatologist devised it to be so i could possibly aid his parents a little? thank you!
    #3

    OP I agree with you. I complained and complained about throat problems to all the GP's in my practice no one listened, I was pretty sure I had food stuck in my throat but they said no no It was anxiety.....I might have stretched the truth about a few symptoms until I got an endoscopy and voila!!.

    Sometimes OP you've gotta make them help you. And yes I sent a nice e-mail (no sarcasm) to each and everyone of them, didn't even get an apology .
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    (Original post by Gangee)
    Perhaps they're becoming a little frustrated due to the excessive amount of times you've been to see them?


    It does seem that an awful lot of people will go to the doctors for stupid, minor things.
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    Because medicine is a very, very large subject. Before I went to medical school, I don’t think I could have imagined the amount I’d have to memorise. Each of us has at most a handful of conditions that we happen to suffer from, and it's a piece of piss to do your own literature searches to find out all about them. Anyone with internet access and some initiative should be an expert in their own conditions.

    By contrast, a GP doesn't just have to know about your particular problems, but also the multitude of other diseases. They are necessarily going to know a limited amount about each one, because the human brain can only cope with a certain amount of information.

    Every year literally millions of scientific papers are published on mdeical topics, and in addition there is a continuous stream of complex local and national guidelines to absorb. There is typically considerable debate concerning the optimal way to manage each condition. This is why we have specialists and sub-specialists - there are at least 50 recognised specialties within medicine, and multiple subspecialties within each of these. Even within a highly specific hospital subspecialty, it is very hard work to keep up to date with the latest thinking on the very large number of signs, symptoms, investigations, diagnoses and treatments that you are expected to know about, each one of which can have countless minor variations. GP's are expected to cope with a much bigger range of problems than any hospital doctor. Furthermore, a GP’s workload dictates an extremely limited time-frame of 10-20 minutes per appointment which precludes detailed physical examination in most cases.

    A good GP is one who will pick up the signs that someone is really ill - and conversely the signs that someone has a tendency to become over-anxious about non-serious problems. GP's are normal human beings, not walking encyclopaedias. They are not going to come out with a list of treatment options which are not available on the NHS, because this is not something they will have much experience of. Like all human beings, they are good at the things they do all the time, ie dealing with standard NHS tests and treatments for common problems. I think you should factor this into your expectations for what a GP visit can actually deliver.
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    (Original post by pixelfrag)
    I know little kid who's had exactly the same symptoms and doctors have said it's growing pains too. I told his parents to go to a specialist but they haven't bothered, I was wondering if you could tell me what condition the rheumatologist devised it to be so i could possibly aid his parents a little? thank you!
    yes of course it's called hypophosphatasia, it's a genetic disease which is passed through recessive genes, so his parents won't show signs of it. Basically there's not enough phosphorus in the skeleton, which results in weak bones, in young children it seems similar to rickets. No cure, only treatment is getting lots of vitamin d which is the only thing which helps with the pain. As there are different stages (dependent on when it becomes 'visible') it's worth going to see a specialist because they might be able to do more for him. message me if you have any more questions

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