Earlier this year, around January or February my sister and then eventually my mom came down with what they assumed to be a bad cough that would disappear on its own with time. At first it was not severe so neither of them went to the doctor until they had had the cough for around 3 weeks. My mom works as a dentist at her own practice, so she especially needed to get rid of the seal sounding cough, so she did not get her staff or patients sick and without having to take too much time off work. My sister went to the doctor first because as a premed student at Michigan the cough was really affecting her ability to sleep and focus in class and throughout her studies.
When my sister got home from the doctor she seemed upset. The doctor had only seen her for a few minutes, she did not suggest any tests would need to be done and prescribed her two separate antibiotics. Desperate to be cured my sister took both of the antibiotics, neither of which helped. After another two weeks with the cough she went to a new doctor at her university where they took tests diagnose her with the correct type of pneumonia and proscribed another antibiotic which helped her to get rid of the cough. My mom then took the same antibiotic and after several weeks her cough went away, but it was unclear whether the antibiotic helped her to get rid of the cough.
In the film The Vanishing Oath that we watched this week, Ryan Flesher describes his stressful experience as a hospital practitioner. One of his biggest complaints is the time restraint he has with patients being less than 10 minutes. This seems so wrong, not only does it decrease the patients chance of being properly treated but it also decreases the amount of doctors who want to go into family care. Another issues with biomedicine is the need to keep satisfaction scores high. I was speaking with my mother’s friend who is a pharmacist about this several days ago who mentioned that doctors now days are much less likely to tell a patient that they do not actually NEED an antibiotic to solve whatever small issue they might have. Although my mom and sister may have needed one in this case, often patients do not but because they are expecting one and doctors do not want their satisfaction scores to go down, they often proscribe medication and antibiotics too readily. I believe this was the case with my sister, instead of testing her in the first place the doctor just gave her two general antibiotics, one of which should work. As discussed in lecture, this is the kind of practice that contributes to antibiotic resistance in the future. Now that she has already been exposed to these antibiotics, if proscribed them again in the future they might be less effective than they could have been had she not been given them when they were not needed.
I believe our American society has become much too reliant on biomedicine to cure our every need. If there was more of a focus on food as medicine, people would have an easier time fighting off small infections without the need for antibiotics because their overall immunity would be better. It seems doctors are trapped in this vicious cycle that does not allow them to be as healthy mentally or physically as they should be. This combined with the expected time allowances, satisfaction scores, and expectation of patients does not allow them to give the quality of care that they have studied and trained so hard to provide.
Flesher, R. (Director). (2011). The Vanishing Oath [Video file]. Aquarius Health Care Media. Retrieved from Academic Video Online: Premium database.