Treating the patient, not just the disease
I have just come across this in a daily newsletter I receive and it raises several important points.
1. Why do doctors not treat each patient as an individual, rather than as a walking disease? One medicine does not fit all.
2. Why are supplements and alternative treatments disregarded so much of the time, despite the scientific evidence that supports the fact that some of these treatments are very effective and have minimal, or no, side effects?
3. Why is the fact that so many people die because of prescribed medication interactions not more of a scandal? If 100,000 people a year died on the roads each year there would be something done about it.
4. Why are doctors not more aware of problems that can be caused by drug interactions? Surely there is some computer programme somewhere which could immediately raise a red flag about certain cocktails of prescribed medications. I have heard of pharmacists who have refused to dispense some medications because of the problems that they would cause, but how often does a pharmacist have the full medication information about a patient available?
5. Patients need to take more care with their medications and be made aware of potential problems that they can cause. I also think there is a frame of mind that if the doctor prescribes it then it must be ok. I appreciate that Doctors can’t know everything, which is why it is important that the patient takes a bit of responsibility when dealing with their meds. I grew up with a father with a chronic and eventually fatal illness. I guess that I must have had it drummed into me to never touch his medications because they could be dangerous. As a result I have always thought of anything prescribed by a doctor as being potentially damaging to my health if not taken correctly or in a specific way and for a specific reason. Too few people seem to understand that medications are only available on prescription for a reason, and not just to make things awkward for the patient.
This, of course, brings me back to number 2 on the list. Why aren’t more patients given access to information about diet, natural substances and alternative treatments which can be just as effective with minimal or no side effects? I seem to remember reading that ordinary tap water can be as effective as anti-acid treatments for acid reflux. If so why aren’t more people made aware of this, rather than having a prescribed medication which has side effects, so you then have to take another medication to counteract those side effects … and so on.
The bottom line is that we need treatments that can work with our bodies to counteract a disease, not treatments which are going to cause even more, and different, problems. After all we are trying to eliminate the disease, not the patient.