Oh No You Don’t

Medical docs, you don’t get to run over a patient and their therapist with your assumptions just because you believe you can.

Yesterday one of my long term clients called me to ask for a psychiatrist referral. The message was a puzzle, so I called her back to learn the details.

She had been in to see a doctor for medication for an infection. After that examination, blood work and diagnosis was over, the doctor asked my client about an older mental health diagnosis that was in the chart. “Well, I see that you were diagnosed XXX in the past.” “Yes,” my client answered, “but my current therapist assures me I don’t have XXX anymore.” Well, that information was ignored. My client was ushered in to see yet another physician who “specialized” in mental health issues. He proceeded to give her a brief screening, and in a few minutes told her that while she probably didn’t have XXX anymore she probably had ADHD.  She should see a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis and get appropriate medication.

This is an abuse of power, as far as I’m concerned. I have seen this client dozens of hours over a span of more than two years. I have more training and experience in mental health diagnosis than these doctors ever will, and I am the health professional on record who is providing mental health care. If they had bothered to LISTEN to the client about her experience, paused to consider my license and the limits of their training, my client would have been spared their authority run amok.

I’m just glad my client called.  I could assure her she didn’t need screening for ADHD, and save herself the $300 + she would have spent to see a shrink for a disorder she doesn’t have.

What is astonishing to me? These doctors believed they had the whole picture on our patient after 10 minutes, and ran right over her own health care history. Medical arrogance is everywhere, but here, for this one person, is a stunning example of it when it comes to mental health care.

Medical docs, I’ll make you a deal: I won’t try to set broken legs or cure infections if you don’t try to heal the mind with 5 questions and your electronic prescription software. You’re out of your league, believe it or not (and I know you don’t).

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