Doctors: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Updated: Jan 17, 2020
We all know America's health system is failing its patients. Let's talk about the doctors
I have endless experiences with doctors. People who have the luxury of not having to worry about their health can't even comprehend the trials of finding a doctor who actually cares. The research, the interviews, the lists of questions, the tears...
One of our biggest hurdles as individuals with chronic illness, especially women and those of color, is finding doctors who believe in us. The good ones. Doctors who will sit down for an hour and a half and answer every question and concern you wrote down. Doctors that run every test, blood panel, imaging available to figure what is going on and how do we treat this. Ultimately if your doctor is good you become a team, you become a unit working to kick some chronic illness butt.
Sadly, they are few and far between and it needs to change. There are too many doctors who lack understanding about chronic pain, chronic illness, rare diseases, and invisible illness. They either aren't taught enough in medical school or simply choose a specialty that is more exciting or lucrative for them.
I understand my privilege as a white, middle-class woman in American. I have access to better care or care at all. I am not judged by the way that I look when I walk into an ER, hospital, or doctor's appointment. For some reason though being a woman in the healthcare system automatically gives you a label. I've personally been made to feel like I was truly crazy as if nothing I was experiencing was real even though it felt deeply wrong. I've been told I am 'having anxiety', 'are too fat for a girl of your age for the medicine to work for you'(yea that happened), 'having referred pain', or I love this one 'absolutely fine'.
I'm not writing any of this to bash my past doctors or praise certain doctors. I'm writing this because we don't talk about it enough. A conversation needs to be started in order to enact change. Those who are underrepresented medically or who are complicated cases should not simply be dismissed. Your gender identity, sexual orientation, or the color of your skin should not determine the way you are treated for a medical problem. Doctors need to become more educated and passionate about caring for those who need lifelong help.
So, I ask you, what needs to change?