Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

For the first time ever, MoDo is not a waste of time

She took a day off from mocking Democratic politicians for being effeminate to tell you to speak up when you don't think doctors are being conscientious about infection control. Which, outrageously, they often are not.

Not only that, she diagnoses the real problem, which is the cultural authority of physicians, the deference people automatically pay to them, and maybe the fear that if we offend their hypersensitive egos they won't give us first class attention. It would be a huge win if people would just speak up if they aren't happy with what a doctor says, does, or doesn't do; aren't satisfied with an answer; or don't intend to do or are not doing what the doctor has prescribed. Go ahead and have those conversations. If physicians don't like it, they'll just have to get over it. It's their chance to explain to you what you didn't understand correctly, if that was the problem; or to come up with a recommendation that is acceptable to the physician and which you are also more inclined to follow, which is obviously better than what the physician thinks is a perfect recommendation to do something you aren't going to do. Everybody, including the doctor, will be happier in the end.

And, if they're screwing up, say by not washing their hands, they need to hear about it.

While we're on the subject of infection control, kind of, DON'T USE PRODUCTS CONTAINING TRICLOSAN! Madison Avenue types market all kinds of products, from soap to socks, that contain this antibacterial agent, by claiming, falsely, that it will protect you and your family from germs. Au contraire. It creates cross-resistance with antibiotics, and doesn't disinfect any better than ordinary soap. And -- according to a column in today's JAMA (off limits to the rabble, as usual), exposure to triclosan can actually be harmful to the immune system. Children exposed to high levels are apparently more likely to develop allergies and asthma. It also alters hormone regulation and may be a carcinogen. So don't use it! Ever!

Update: As commenters noted, the verdict in the case of Kristen LaBrie, who did not give her son prescribed chemotherapy, was guilty. First, it astonishes me that they could get 12 people to agree to this. She must have had really lousy representation. And I'm with my readers: the blame here is on a health care system that failed her and her son. The prosecutors have chosen to attack a victim. That's legal malpractice and a serious abuse of office, in my view.


JMT said...

Also this:

Daniel said...

The prosecution of this woman is a deeply personal issue with me. Our youngest son has a moderately severe developmental disability. He is 22 and lives with us and requires care 24x7.

The issue of what to do if he becomes ill and faces medical intervention that may prolong his life, but cause him to suffer in a way he can not apprehend, is no stranger to his mother & I.

I think many of us, who have assumed the responsibility of guardianship, are worried by the inevitability of finding ourselves in a similar situation.

Cervantes said...

Thanks for that Daniel.

This is a rather different situation in that according to the mother, she believed the chemotherapy was killing him and that the cancer would not -- in other words she wanted him to live, but she made the wrong decision. Still, the general point that people with such taxing caregiving demands need more support and less judgment is right on.

C. Corax said...

Switching subjects here, I had an interaction with a man who is a nurse (on a leave from his job at the moment and starting a dog training business), where he tried to give me hand wipes which he had bought for me because the dog treats he was using (and had left for me to use) in training one of my dogs were pretty soft and stuck annoying to fingers. I declined. He urged them on my again: "They're antibacterial!" I said that that clinched it--I really didn't want them in that case. He looked stunned. I said, "C'mon, you're a nurse. You know what the effect of indiscriminate use of antibiotics does!" He agreed that maybe I had a point.

Cervantes said...

Alcohol wipes are fine -- it's the triclosan you want to avoid. The hand sanitizers you see in hospitals are alcohol based.