Thursday, February 13, 2014

Inside the American Medical System: An Introduction (Part 1 in the Series)

This series has been in the making for over five years, and the time has finally come to write it! I'm so excited to share with you our experiences in the American medical system with our baby boy, and I hope that what we learned in the process, and the tips I hope to share, will be useful to you!

I'm not quite sure how long this series will be, but here is a basic outline:

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Our Story
Part 3 - Creating a Medical Notebook I
Part 4 - Creating a Medical Notebook II
Part 5 - Lessons Learned

Today's Part 1 installment, our brief introduction to this series, will cover the following:
  • What will be covered in this series
  • What will not be covered in this series
  • A brief discussion of personal bias

Let's get started!

What WILL Be Covered In This Series:

In 2010 we began this journey with our then nearly-one-year-old baby boy. Over the following couple of years, we journeyed in and out of doctors' offices, hospitals, labs, therapists' offices, etc., as we searched (fruitlessly) for answers, for a diagnosis, and for advice that would help our wee man. This series will be based on our experiences, which included:
  • Repeat visits to numerous specialists' offices, including pediatrics, developmental pediatrics, neurology, genetics, cardiology, and gastroenterology (among others)
  • Lots of oh-so-fun lab tests
  • Other tests including MRI under general anaesthetic, repeat cardioechograms, etc.
  • Therapy evaluations and ongoing therapy of various forms (PT, OT, speech, etc.)
  • Extensive genetic testing

What Will NOT Be Covered In This Series:

There are many areas that our journey did not include, and thus this series will not be reflective of those areas of the medical system. I do not want to claim more than our experience has actually covered, so I wish to be very clear that there are some areas of the medical system of which we have little to no experiential knowledge. Those areas include:
  • Advanced medications, medical equipment, or assistive devices
  • Surgeries
  • Repeat hospitalizations

A Brief Discussion of Personal Bias:

Everyone has a bias - even if he refuses to admit it! I am no different, and I have a definite bias - a bias in favor of naturopathic medicine over Western medicine.

In the American medical system, there is unfortunately (at the present time) a huge divide between Western medicine (drugs, devices, surgeries, labs, etc.) and naturopathic medicine (herbs, supplements, lifestyle, diet, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.). Unfortunately, finding medical practitioners who are well-versed in both healing modalities is nearly impossible. Naturopaths usually don't have the ability to do surgery or handle emergency situations, and Western medical doctors are, alas, usually completely ignorant of any healing methods outside of commercial pharmaceutical drugs. I would love to see these two extremes find a happy middle ground in which both methodologies could be practiced by the same caregiver, but such practitioners are so rare as to be practically non-existent. 

As American health care providers are usually "one or the other," most people tend to navigate instinctively toward one healing modality or the other, and I much prefer naturopathic medicine with its emphasis on diet, lifestyle, midwifery-style care, herbs, and non-drug healing whenever possible. Our experience in the Western medical model both confirmed and greatly strengthened my bias. However, I also gained a great amount of respect for the vast amount of knowledge held by Western medical doctors, and I hope to present a balanced view of our experience - though my bias will, of course, be ever-present. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you! All kind and thoughtful comments will be published; all inconsiderate or hurtful comments will be deleted quietly without comment. Thanks for visiting!