Medical Lunacy

3 Feb

This is a particularly interesting story for me on several levels.  One, I have a daughter born with a birth defect that affects about one in 30,000 babies – her left hand never formed fingers in the womb.

The word ‘defect’ bothers me.  Madeline has done just fine without her five left fingers.  Bet most of you never even noticed. But because of her hand, I do understand the anguish of a parent with a newborn who isn’t like the rest of us.

The other connection to the story is the more disturbing part, the conflict of interest that arises when profits and medical care collide. I got over my initial fears about Maddie’s hand.  But I won’t ever forget or get over the profit and ego-driven Docs my family battled daily so my dad got the care he deserved.

Most of you read my posts last year about my dad’s health. I knew his own struggles would be difficult but I never suspected the crazy fights our family had with his care would be so intense.  A skilled nursing facility in Marin who preferred “Chemical restraint” over actual care. A hospital in Marin who did not want to transfer my dad to Santa Rosa for care and lose the Medicare billing. And finally, a hospital in Santa Rosa that allowed one surgeon’s ego to nearly cost my father his life at the time and put another doctor’s life saving but experimental new wound care procedure at risk! All in the name of money.

In spite of proven results, in spite of the obvious benefits of a low-cost, easy to apply infection treatment Dr. Silberg had invented, his superior at a Santa Rosa hospital wanted it stopped and did everything he could to try and do just that.

 The story linked here points out that often times, what is the right care is not always the care given.

Just like the wound care specialists who doubted the efficacy of Dr. Silberg’s new treatment but were actually more worried about their high salaries going away, the orthopedists in charge of club foot procedures make no where near the same cash when the less invasive but more effective Ponseti method is used to cure a clubbed foot. They’d rather cut a baby’s feet open and cause a lifetime of pain. Hey, someone has to pay the Mercedes lease.

Like our financial planning world, it is harder than ever to find a Doctor that can be trusted to give the advice that is right for you. As the story relates, the internet’s ability to share stories and knowledge is helping folks.  If that means less money for a surgeon or financial adviser, so be it.

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