A reminder that being a doctor is difficult

I’m leaving for my GP’s office in a few minutes for a same-day appointment. When I show up, I will present with a group of symptoms that could be any of a dozen different things: fever, sweats/chills, sore throat, aches and pains. It could be the flu, could be strep throat, or it could be plenty of other random viruses.

The doctor or physician’s assistant I see is going to have to run down that list and eliminate diagnoses as quickly as possible in the short amount of time he/she is given with me. They also need to figure out how to get the proper diagnosis with a minimum of testing.

Sure, they could probably throw every lab test in the book at me and culture everything a million ways to Sunday, but that would be wasteful. Is it worth a strep test? What about the weird tooth pain? Could it be an infection? Sinuses?

And sure, I might have weirdlongnamediseaseitis, but chances are good it’s something like strep throat. So the doctor or PA is going to have to ignore all the interesting diagnoses and also ignore the small chance that they’re wrong.

Because it happens. Doctors are human and they have a lot of patients and sometimes the patient who looks like she has strep actually does have weirdlongnamediseaseitis, but there was simply no good reason to think so at the time.

Which is why sometimes doctors get sued wrongly. (Yes, sometimes they get sued because they really should have known, but that’s not my point here.)

I hope this was vaguely coherent, but considering I’m probably suffering from a horrible case of weirdlongnamediseaseitis, you’re lucky if I remember how to spell 😉

I’m off to the doctor now. Here’s hoping I’ve got something that can be treated!


About mamamara

I'm a 40-something, work-at-home mother of two. I'm pro-vaccine, pro-medicine, pro-science, and an avid reader of information about all of the above, and I want to combine my love for my children with my love for science. So here we are!
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