Monday, March 7, 2011

Frugal Medicine: Iatrogenic Disease

This is going to be a controversial post and it reflects my experiences/beliefs about medical treatment.  Specifically, medical treatment in the United States.

We have a strange revolving door syndrome going when it comes to our medical treatment.  Doctors are paying exorbitant malpractice insurance fees - which go up if a doctor is sued - causing doctors to be over cautious about patient treatment - which causes doctors to over treat, prescribe and test patients - which leads to iatrogenic disease/illness - which leads to malpractice suites - which leads to higher malpractice insurance costs.

Iatrogenic disease is any disease or medical condition caused by medical treatment.  Heart disease and cancer are the top two causes of death in the United States; the third is iatrogenic disease.  A quarter of a million people in the U.S. die each year due to iatrogenic disease.  Approximately 12,000 of these deaths are caused by surgical interventions.

Fuzzy, But You Get The Picture
How does this affect frugal homemakers?  We are paying for unnecessary treatments and tests.  Paying, not only with our money, but with our health.  It is imperative that we question our doctors on the necessity of each treatment/test, then go home to research it ourselves, before WE make the decision to proceed.

I know a few people that never go to the doctor or receive treatment.  I am not suggesting this.  I am suggesting that we need to take control over and lead our healthcare.  Trust me, this doesn't always make you the most popular patient, but it may save your life.

Let me give you a personal story.  I decided several years ago not to receive invasive tests if I am asymptomatic.  I do get blood work (barely invasive), mammograms, EKGs, PAP smears and needed x-rays.  My doctor has been after me to get a colonoscopy and I have declined.  I have no symptoms, there have been recent problems with patients receiving serious, chronic diseases because of improper cleaning of equipment (this is nationwide, research it), and there is a risk for silent bowel perforation.  Now the risk of perforation is only 1%, but I don't want to be one of that 1%.

When I discussed this with my doctor he asked me if I was depressed!  Apparently, refusing a doctor recommended test must be related to a patient's emotional condition, not a patient's research and thoughtful consideration.  This is not a decision caused by fear and it may be a decision that I someday regret, but it is MY decision.

Each year medical costs and medical insurance costs rise.  We are not only paying for testing and treatment, but our insurance companies are charging us for the possibility of future testing and treatment. Another revolving door.

See, I warned you this would be controversial.  I am open to debate.   I just want people to see how our current medical systems are affecting us.  I am not trying to sway your medical decisions, I just want YOU to make those decisions.

As an Amish minister said in Family Life magazine, "Why are God's people spending so much time and money to avoid seeing him?".

God bless,

1 comment:

  1. I agree,we spend far too much time and money in doctor's office's.sometimes I think Half the people who are there really don't need to see a doctor,I think for some, seeing the doctor has become habit forming. Blessings jane