Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What's wrong with doctors?

We recently had an ultrasound of Baby August. Everything seems to be developing nicely. We didn't ask the sex of the baby. All in all, normal (if tending toward the large side).

The experience with "orthodox", even fully insured care within the U.S. medical system made the Monkey Mama and I even more thankful for the attentive care we receive from the midwives at BirthCare. I felt like the radiology office treated me like a dollar sign until I was in their office, at which point I became a nuisance.

The doctor who reviewed our sonogram was the worst. He entered the room and said "I'm Doctor [unintelligibly fast speech] and I'm going to take a quick look and then get you on your way." We actually had a few questions, and weren't in a rush...but our time was his money, the way he looked at it I guess. He was nerdy, no charisma.

He said (to the Monkey Mama) "I'm just going to measure the distance between your placenta and your cervix." --Why? "Because if they're too close, you can't have a vaginal birth."

There's another way to get the same point across, while simultaneously educating the parents and not alarming them. The fact that he was only looking for trouble, rather than doing an holistic examination, is part of the whole interventionist/God complex that characterizes most U.S. medicine. ("Eek! There's a baby inside her! We've got to get it out, or they'll both die!" instead of "That's nice. She's pregnant, like 100 million other women right now, and like billions of other women before her.")

Then he wanted to do some kind of vaginal exam. We raised some concerns, because we weren't exactly sure about the timeline of when vaginal exams might introduce bacteria to the baby. Talking over our concerns, he said "We do them all the time. Practically every woman in here today got one." All of which has precisely nothing to do with why such an exam would be necessary for the Monkey Mama. We asked him about the potential benefits and risks, and he literally threw up his hands and said "Fine, we won't do one." Which isn't right, either: we weren't opposed, we just wanted to be knowledgeable. We weren't trying to second-guess, we were trying to be informed consumers/patients.

The care we get from our midwives is so much better. I won't try to do justice to the treatment we get from that practice in this post, which is already too long. Let's just say we're grateful for the midwives at BirthCare.

And imagine if we were one of the 43 million Americans without health insurance? I recently saw a link to a study that found that uninsured people pay more for services that they eventually receive.

How is it that the American health care system spends 15-35% more (per GDP) on healthcare than other countries, has demonstrably worse health outcomes almost across the board, and still manages to miss 15% of the population entirely?

And what kind of a system funnels people to this clown of a doctor, who can't explain the benefits and risks of a procedure to a patient?

2 Comments:

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Adam said...

I sent this entry to my sister.... who's a midwife.

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Adam said...

And, my sister sent back to me and you this link to a song:

http://www.compleatmother.com/audio/The-Obstetrician-Song.mp3

 

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