Monday, October 12, 2009

A "one size fits all" approach to medicine

When I first moved to Germany, I dreaded going to a doctor because all the doctor's that I'd encountered had a "one size fits all" approach to medicine.

In 2007 during my 2nd month in here, I got sick. Doctor 1 diagnosed me with bronchitis, but could only give me 3 days worth (6 x 250mg) of amoxicillin. As a person who was born in the 1980's in the US when doctor's prescribed antibiotics for everything and caused immunity to them, this does nothing for me. However Doctor 1, by law, was not able to give me more meds. So I got better for a couple days, then got worse. Onto Doctor 2 - a specialist (the 1st doctor, a generalist, was not allowed to prescribe me more meds). Doctor 2 gave me the same meds. So again I got better then worse. I went back to Doctor 1, pleaded with him, and walked away with 5 days of meds... enough to get me back to the US where I could be treated. All in all, I was sick with bronchitis for 1 month and I'm sure that "treatment plan" upped my immunity to amoxicillin.

I definitely don't promote handing out medicine for every problem. But I also don't promote this "one size fits all" philosophy when applied to medicine. It is dangerous and can cause more harm than good from which comes my dread of going to the doctor here. The most frustrating thing is knowing a state-of-the-art US military hospital is less than 0.5 km from my apt. However, I'm not allowed to go there since I don't have access to the base.

Now I have a new doctor team (husband & wife). They take into consideration the advice of my US doctor, who knows my medical history, when treating me. I really appreciate this. Especially last week when I got sick. The new doctor understood how to treat me. All doctor's should follow suit.

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