A blog about the grief after losing a child to Niemann Pick, Type C, a rare disease, and how I'm moving forward with my life.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Multiple Doctors, Multiple Opinions

I read an interesting blog post today from Boston Children's Hospital Thrive blog.  Dr. McCarthy, the author, talks about getting conflicting advice on parenting from many different sources.  She then compares it to doctors who may give different opinions or conduct different tests.

To quote from the blog post:
We’re not just contradictory with parenting advice, either; we contradict ourselves with medical stuff too.  Different doctors prescribe different medicines, do different tests and give different advice for the same problems.  Most of the time the differences are small—but sometimes they’re not.
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And medicine is far more nuanced than most people realize. It’s not just that research changes our understanding of medicine all that time, although that’s part of it. It’s that each person is different—their body, their medical history, who lives with them, how they live—and those differences matter. Plus, conditions affect people differently—each pneumonia, headache, broken bone or case of cancer is different from the next. It just doesn’t work in medicine to always do things the same way.
...
But the fact that there are so many contradictions forces us to realize that, indeed, there’s no one right way to do anything.

I’m not saying you can’t trust your doctor. You just need to understand that doctors are humans like everyone else, and that medicine is as much an art as a science. So trust your instincts, and ask questions. If the answers you get are contradictory, think of it as a sign that there’s more to the story, and that you and your doctor have more talking to do.

Instead of being frustrated by the contradictions, parents should be empowered by them.

For those parents who have kids with multiple problems, sometimes this conflicting information can be dangerous.  Parents of those with special medical needs have to trust their instincts more than most parents.  But when you try to explain to a doctor what the issue is, sometimes it seems trivial or the doctor "blows it off".  Making sure you as a parent have doctors that listen to you and trust your insticts help make caring for your children that much easier.

Like Dr. McCarthy wrote in her blog: If the answers you get are contradictory, think of it as a sign that there’s more to the story, and that you and your doctor have more talking to do.

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