Some of life’s experiences
When doctors over-specialise and fail to see the patient as a person and not a condition, the patient will suffer discomfort, distress or tragedy.
A pregnant woman went to the emergency room of a reputable hospital, doubled up in pain. Since it was the second trimester, the interns felt the problem was an expected ‘sciatica’. They scanned the foetus, found it growing well, and sent the lady home. Two days later, the woman was re-admitted to the hospital where the baby was born premature.
The problem: the interns did not check the condition of her uterus or take her feelings of pain seriously! Two lives were put at risk because of this. And let me tell you: this, in one of our “advanced nations”, and “best hospital”.
Whose baby? And whose patient?
All through my first pregnancy, I was in the care of a wonderful doctor. He treated us as a unit: the unborn child and his parents. Giving half an hour on each visit, he developed a relationship with us so that he could understand us better and also our needs.
During the delivery, his focus shifted to the birthing process and, although he took into account my stated wishes about no painkillers etc., his main focus was for a safe delivery.
The shock came when there was a nursing problem after birth. When we rang him up for advice, he said: Oh, that’s a problem to do with the baby. You’ll have to call the pediatrician. And the pediatrician gave advice related to the baby, but which didn’t solve the problem as she wouldn’t take my needs into account.
It was like being dropped from a height, and falling in a chasm between the specialties of two doctors. The baby and I, so long one physically, and still feeling inter-twined, could no longer be attended to as a unit.
And what of the lady who had a stone between her kidney and bladder? Because the different specialists concentrated on one organ at a time, depending on their area of expertise, the stone stayed undetected through months of excruciating pain.