Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Armchair Physicians

Medicine has no guarantees when it comes to improvement. Many procedures will improve most patient's health, but not all. More often, procedures will improve the patients condition compared to when the patient originally presented, but not to the patient's, or patient's family, satisfaction.

Why? Because the sheer complexity of the human body, and it's interaction with the environment, surpass current capability to identify all factors that cause or aggravate illness. That's why you can have a technically successful procedure, and still have an outcome that isn't completely successful.

So, should you have a family member who has had a stent (not a "stench"; we don't place stenches, although I've worked with a few people who've brought their own with them) placed in artery, your family member may come back needing more work in that same area at a later date. Because some people build plaque in their arteries no matter what they do or take for meds. Thus, implying that the doctor who worked on it the first time is incompetent isn't helpful. In other words, saying "fix it right this time" tends to make staff think that the individual speaking is an ignorant ass unable to appreciate that their relative would likely have had only one foot at this point, if it weren't for the first repair we did.

As an aside, we did fix it right. Again. And that patient will be back with the same problem. Because there's only one cure for aging, and things have to get pretty bad before most people are willing to experience it.


BobG said...

Had to get a stent in after my heart attack in 2005; the doctors told me then that sometimes they needed to be replaced after a few years.

MauserMedic said...


Unfortunately, repairing a current problem doesn't automatically prevent future problems from the same condition. Whoever comes up with a stent that truly prevents ongoing plaque deposits will be both rich and professionally recognized. Sometimes it's easy to forget that where we are today is a great advance over what was available.