If we are to reform our medical system, let us not overlook the unnecessary deaths. Let us find a way to save those who are not being diagnosed when they should be.
A Facebook friend of mine, dying of cancer, posts of how it was unnecessary, of how he told the doctor the symptoms, and the doctor failed to diagnose him, a diagnoses that should have been simple and obvious. I see around me other times a simple diagnoses was not made and perceive it is a significant problem.
Let us do three or four things. Three I will mention tonight, and I might deal with a fourth later.
One, Lessen the doctor's workload. The good doc is overbooked. When a patient comes, he should have all the time in the world, all the time he needs. No more should the doctor be hurrying to finish one patient in order to get to the next. Busy doctors don't make for good ones.
Two, Give the doctor check lists right and left. They already employ some. The doctor goes down the list of symptoms, checking them off to see how the patient stacks up. Let's add some lists. He needs to ask about all the symptoms of cancer, whether that is what the patient is there for, or not. He needs to ask about the symptoms of other major diseases, regardless whether the patient is there for them. And, then, all the symptoms from everything need to be poured into a computer, to let the computer spit out what illnesses or diseases the patient might have. If our doctors are overlooking diseases -- and they are -- let the computer help.
Three, Make second opinions standard practice. You never go to see just one doctor. You always see a second. See two at the same practice, if you like, but see two. And, the two partners must not share their diagnoses until after they each have arrived at them independently.
As I write, it occurs to me all three of these suggestions would be impacted if we used computers more, letting them make diagnoses. We could type in all our symptoms, and the computer would tell us what was wrong.