Increase Higher Education & Diagnoses of Invisible Illnesses before More Suicides
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Each day, thousands of patients are rudely turned away from doctors' offices and Emergency Rooms, due to physician ignorance of "Invisible Illnesses." Desperately seeking a diagnosis, patients can seek futile help from 2-30 doctors over months, years, or decades.
Physician frustration and/or patient dehumanization are exhibited in the forms of patients simply being referred to psychiatrists, patients being told that it is "all in your head," or that "there is nothing wrong with you."
Some patients die without a diagnosis ever being made. Others suffer shame before their parents or spouses, who say, "See? I told you." The patient suffers from secondary depression, anxiety, and younger female patients are more reluctant to seek psychiatric care for depression, disability, and disability benefits.
This "Catch 22" situation can be dramatically reduced by imposing two necessary requirements, as was previously done for optimizing patient care through adequate Pain Control:
1. Medical School: Students take a mandatory class on "Invisible Illnesses," to include referrals, diagnosis, treatment, outcome, complications, and expected longevity;
2. Licensed Physicians: are imposed with 20 additional CME credits on "Invisible Illnesses," to include the same criteria as in #1 above. Radiologists without patient care are not exempt, as they are needed for the diagnosis of Chiari Malformation, for example. Pathologists are not exempt, as they are needed for the tissue diagnosis of histocytosis, for example.
In this manner, physicians will more appropriately refer to specialists, patients will reach a diagnosis earlier, and health care dollars (i.e., both physical and mental health) will be optimized.
Hypothesis: Patient Quality of Life, and morbidity/mortality rates (especially due to suicide) should decrease with a compassionate, common-sense plan to identifying and treating "Invisible Illnesses" through formal physician education.
"Invisible Illnesses" and symptoms include, but are not limited to: traumatic brain injury with diabetes insipidus, dysautonomia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, mitral valve prolapse syndrome, pure autonomic failure, Chiari malformation, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, systemic lupus erythematous, Lymes disease, dementia, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, sickle cell anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, vertebral artery dissection with/without aneurysm, migraine headache, oculo-vestibular dysfunction, and hypoperfusion of the brainstem.
Many of us are bed-bound, home-bound, invisible to society, lost and forgotten. It is time for us to speak out and be counted. In advance, thank you for your serious consideration to the problem and to the proposed solution, for which a precedent has already been set by Pain Management.
Highest Professional Regards,
Margaret Aranda, MD., Ph.D.
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