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Woo has angered me today!
Posted: 13 April 2010 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I had a brief “scare” with a lump in the breast. Went to consult the breast surgeon at the hospital today (who my GYN referred me to for the lump) and the surgeon assured me it’s probably just fiberous tissue or cyst. She’s sending me for ultrasound and mammogram to be safe. 99% sure everything is fine - just being safe.

Here’s the kicker. The lump is painful. Well, very sore, really. So I asked, what will we do for the pain if it’s fibrous tissue or a cyst? Can we remove the cyst or painful tissue? Anti-inflammatories? Cortisone, etc? Her answer was, if it is a cyst, they can use a needle to drain it, and antibiotics. If painful fiborous tissue, she recommends evening primrose oil, eliminating caffeine, acupuncture, and other herbal treatments.

I asked, “You suggest the ‘woo-woo’ treatment route?” She said, get this, “Science can’t explain how it works yet, but it does work. We have a new integrative medicine center right in the hospital. We recommend it to our patients.”

I think I know why. It’s a cash cow for the hospital.

Anyhow, here I was really loving this doctor. It’s all ruined now. I have to see her, as she’s one of the only specialist breast surgeons in the area, and the only on my crappy HMO. She was very kind and I don’t dislike her personally. But how disappointing! I’ll have to see another doctor for the discomfort if it’s not something treatable with antibiotics.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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So sorry, Jules. :-( It is bitterly disappointing when otherwise good doctors act as if “we can’t prove it works but it does” is a safe or sound argument for a treatment. It legitimately calls into question their judgement and competence because making deisions based on personal experience and intuition is demonstrably unreliable, and it’s hard to trust a doctor who doesn’t understand this. I see doctors all the time who are smart and do good work 90% of the time and then who randomly use faith-based techniques even after the point where science has proven them to be ineffective.

I hope you find someone else you like and can trust.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m going to discuss the experience with my internist, who has been out of the loop, since my GYN handled the appointment and referred me to “Doctor Woo.” I’m curious to hear my internist’s opinion. I suspect she’ll be annoyed, and have better advice for the discomfort than “acupuncture and herbs.”  smile

What bothers me is that vulnerable women getting breast cancer surgery and treatment at this hospital department, are ALL being referred to the woo-healing center. Women undergoing cancer treatment may be not thinking straight due to fright, and scared into woo-treatment. How shady.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Bleh.  sick

I can see a modest recommendation for a free or very low cost alt med “intervention” in the case that the patient is adamant to do something. (E.g., primrose oil, chamomile tea or the like). But not if they’re making tons of money off the useless crap, or if they’re pushing it to everyone as a matter of course as though it were effective.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Not too long ago, a doctor recommended vitamin C for my son’s nasty cold. I smiled and asked him if he was being serious. He said there was really nothing else he could do. I told him it was fine, I didn’t expect him to do anything else, I only wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious. We then chatted for a few minutes and he told me that since most patients refuse to walk out empty-handed, he prescribes placibo. He looked exhausted.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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George, that is a good point. Doctors who are badgered by patients may offer a harmless vitamin to “make them happy.” I can understand this.  He was probably thrilled to meet someone like you, who was not going to badger him!

I passed the “integrative (alternative) medicine center” on the way to the breast surgeon’s wing. It had pretty bamboo decorations, a fountain; a spa-like setting in the glass-walled waiting room. If they offered massages and pedicures, I would have taken up the doctor’s suggestion.  wink

Meanwhile the breast surgeon’s office had a solid wooden door, narrow chairs, very uninviting. I can see the marketing at work, in the “cash cow” alternative medicine section. They draw you in by making you feel pampered. I’m surprised they don’t pass out fluffy robes and slippers at the door. They also positioned the alternative medicine center right by the front doors of the hospital building, next to the information desk. It was being showcased to draw new customers. It’s brilliant money making strategy. Half those special treatments are not covered by insurance, which means they set their own price.

But why couldn’t they have just opened a beauty spa, and have been done with it? It is the same thing! LOL

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Posted: 13 April 2010 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jules - 13 April 2010 08:48 AM

I asked, “You suggest the ‘woo-woo’ treatment route?” She said, get this, “Science can’t explain how it works yet, but it does work. We have a new integrative medicine center right in the hospital. We recommend it to our patients.”

mad  I’m glad you called her on it. That “Science can’t explain” ‘explanation’ is a bunch of crap.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Asanta, you would have laughed at the face I made, and the hand gestures I made when calling it “woo-woo.”  LOL I didn’t even mean to do it, I just did automatically.

I think she was a bit insulted - although I didn’t mean to insult her, just the woo-woo nonsense. She was so very kind, so I felt bad for being a bit rude. Especially to someone who is going to have their hands up my blouse in the future. I should have been nicer.  gulp

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Posted: 13 April 2010 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Just to apparently decrease the value of the hospital’s woo store, you may tell her, next time, “Well, if I do try any of those alternative medications, I’ll buy them though my sister-in-law who can get them at a discount.” 

Occam

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Posted: 13 April 2010 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I can understand your frustration.

I had a simular experience when my daughter was born. We had to stay in hospital for a few extra days due to complications during the birth. The staff where just amazing. However one nurse, who was good in every other way tried to push the “herbal” things with us.

Her argument “It’s natural, therefore it’s good”.

I agree, the public must get easily confused when professional medical staff fall for it.

There should be a box on the admissions form that says:

Would you like us to presribe WOO? Y/N

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Posted: 14 April 2010 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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That nurse could have been fired.
She was practicing medicine without a license
She was prescribing medicine unauthorized by the doctor
she was exploiting your patient/nurse relationship
she was risking losing her job, if not her license.
  You should have warned her to stop or you would complain to administration, who would take a VERY dim view of her actions.

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Posted: 14 April 2010 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Good points Asanta

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Posted: 14 April 2010 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Mike from Oz - 13 April 2010 09:58 PM

Would you like us to presribe WOO? Y/N

Made my morning, thanks!  Needed that laugh. LOL

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Posted: 14 April 2010 05:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Mike from Oz - 13 April 2010 09:58 PM

Her argument “It’s natural, therefore it’s good”.

That line always annoys me. Natural = healthy? What about arsenic? Cyanide? Ricin? Natural doesn’t mean good.  LOL

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Posted: 14 April 2010 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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It is important that as patients we make sure our caregivers understand our expectation that they will provide the best, most scientific and evidence-based care possible. All sorts of accomodations are made for patients’ religious and woo-friendly desires, it is not unreasonable to expect our desire for rational, fact-based care be respected.

I have actually included a statement in my Advianced Directive for Healthcare prohibiting CAM treatments from being performed without my express consent.

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Posted: 14 April 2010 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I wonder exactly how much pressure doctors at the hospital are under, to recommend the new “integrative medicine center?” That is, I wonder if the doctor really believed in it, or if she was simply under pressure to do so?

I can only imagine the hospital meetings. I picture directors or board members saying “the public wants these treatments, they’re harmless and give a nice placebo effect We’re just giving the public what they want, and getting funds for other hospital projects in the process.”

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