Are our doctors failing their patients?

stock photo : Close up of a doctors lab white coat.

My son has been suffering for a while now with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but were given very little advice, very little help, just basically get on with it, rest when you can etc etc.

Anyway, things improved for a few months and he managed to get back to school full-time but the last time he was ill I took him back to our GP and explained all of this and was met with “well, what do you want me to do?” – I mean, he is the doctor isn’t he supposed to know what to do?!

I took the opportunity to try and discuss changing his diet, getting rid of starchy carbs and any processed foods (he’s a teenager and as skinny as he can be, its pretty hard to deny him a pizza!) only to be told he needs the calories and I should be increasing the amount of junk he eats rather than making it healthier. I then broached the subject of supplements; I have read quite a bit recently about the contributory factors in CFS or PVF suggesting the Magnesium and/or Vitamin D3 deficiency could have  a bearing only to be told “I don’t know anything about supplements”. I don’t expect my GP to be an expert in everything but he cannot tell me what treatment my son should have, he doesnt know about healthy diets and he cannot provide any advice on healthy supplements – what on earth are we paying our GPs for?

stock photo : Bottle of pills

Surely in these days of increasingly complex illnesses brought about by the stresses of modern life and the appalling diets most of us eat, our GPs have a duty to understand the latest thinking, to read widely and top stay ahead of current thinking – or am I being a tad too naïve? perhaps none of those things bring as much additional revenue or expensive free golf days from pharmaceutical companies, perhaps its just far easier to hand out yet another prescription for an antibiotic and hope the problem will go away without ever appreciating that all they are doing is storing the problem up for another day.

Antibiotics are handed out like smarties causing more and more bacteria to become resistant – it is widely recognised that we will have an epidemic of resistant diseases in the not too distant future and illnesses that are routinely treated now will again have the potential to causes serious problems as there will be no effective treatment available.

But what really gets me is that our GPs are paid handsomely, work far less hours than they ever used to and yet I can sit in front of one and know more about my sons condition, suggested treatments, dosages etc and still they don’t even shown a flicker of interest. Have we created a generation of doctors that really don’t care about what is happening with their patients and who are only interested in treating the here and now?

My concerns for while have centred on the approach that all that gets treated at any appointment is what is presented TODAY, deal stock photo : Doctors hand holding prescriptionwith today’s issue or the most pressing issue (or the only one thy actually know about!) but there is no recognition that all that is being treated is a symptom and unless you are in a position to treat the cause, to look at a patient more holistically, you will never completely cure whatever us going on.  Patients will bounce back again and again, looking for more and more drugs, getting more and more side effects (which also require additional treatment) all of which completely compromise their immune systems and reduce the chances of their bodies fighting the original illness.

Perhaps if our GPs took a more holistic approach – and I mean that in the true sense of the word not what it has become in recent years – and viewed diet, nutrition, exercise, stress etc as really significant contributory factors in many modern illnesses and ailments, perhaps we could help people to manage their lives and self medicate without piling drugs on top of drugs.  But then who has an interest in perpetuating the current system – oh that’s right, the extremely powerful drug companies!


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