Little Luke "Skywalker"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tips On When And How To "See Doctor"

Update on Little Skywalker status:

Our son's blood test result came back showing no signs of abnormality. So I guess he is off dengue fever (Phew!). His urine test at Selayang Hospital however, tested Ketone positive (which indicated possibility of bacteria or virus infection). Further culture and sensitivity (C&S) showed no signs of bacteria and viruses. So that was another load off.

His fever was completely gone by yesterday morning. One last thing left is some red spots of rashes are seen on part of his face and hands. We hope that they will wear off eventually by themselves.

Little Skywalker is due for another follow-up on Friday.

Back to the topic of the day...

Background:
My mum as a retired nurse, she gave me a lot of ideas on how to deal with illness. She take our blood (at home) for testing at least twice a year when I was very young, so seeing blood is nothing to me. I am also used to watching video on medical procedures including surgery and other ugly stuff. I work in a big hospital, so I am surrounded by either doctors or nurses. However, the tips I am about to provide are based on my experience and also some stuff I read in the office.

I would like to provide a few guidelines on when and how to "see doctor". As you might have known, my son has been suffering from persistent high fever since last Sunday. Both J and I went through hell taking care and worrying about his health. After going through it, I felt like writing some guidelines to serve as reminder to both myself and you.

Firstly, fever is a very common symptom for many, many kinds of disease, especially in children. Chicken pox, measles, dengue, flu etc. normally show fever as obvious symptoms. Panadol (PCM) is a common drug found in everyone's home and we use it to treat fever (also headache, amnesia, suicide etc.) ourselves without even going to the clinic most of the time. However, we need to be extra careful when it comes to fever with toddlers. As you might have known, PCM for toddlers are in syrup form. We should understand the correct dosage before feeding them to our children. Or else, the consequences might be dire!!

Fever can originate from virus or bacteria infections. This kind of (high and persistent) fever will normally last for 2-3 days. If the fever does not subside after 3 days, you should bring your child to a doctor (at best pediatrician). Bringing a child to a doctor on the first or second day might not help a lot as doctors will only prescribe PCM and antibiotics (not recommended for small children). Antibiotics are commonly used to treat viral fever.

It is better to bring your child to a hospital instead of a clinic if the fever is high and persistent. The main reason is that hospitals are well equipped and some even have labs. Doctors at hospital will be able to order urine and blood test for the child if needed. The results can be known faster compare to small clinics who need to send out specimens to private labs. Furthermore, all lab tests in government hospital are paid for by you and me. So, why are you paying more to private practice?? (No offence to private practitioners)

Next, we move on to "How to see doctor". I have seen many people who go to a doctor and telling the doctor what kind of disease they are having. Unless they learned it from past history or another doctor's diagnosis, I really wonder how they managed to make their own conclusions. I always thought that as patient, we should explain only the symptoms of our illness eg. "my body temperature is rising and I feel cold", "my head hurts", "I have running nose non-stop", "I have red spots on my body". Instead, they went "I think I have dengue", "Is it bird flu? SARS?", "I think I have liver/kidney failure", "I am suicidal".

By telling exactly what you "think" you have, you are taking away the responsibilities of the doctor. You go to a doctor for a DIAGNOSIS! Meaning you want them to tell you your illness, not the other way round. For our part, we only need to describe which part of our body is not feeling well, allergies, past medical history, family medical history etc. We PAY doctors to do their jobs, not to listen to our "smart-ass" self-diagnosis. Otherwise, we might end up influencing them into getting the wrong diagnosis or medications!

This is especially true when you are consulting young (trainee) doctors. They are at a learning process and some of them may tend to avoid their own responsibilities when they think you know better.

Do anyone of your watch the TV series "House"? If you had observed, doctors actually record every symptoms of their patients (no matter how small it is) in order to reach a diagnosis. If a patient tries to hide their symptoms, medical history, drug addictions, allergies etc. The patient might end up killing himself while the doctor takes the blame. Is it fair?

In a nut shell, doctors have their responsibilities to make proper diagnosis and prescribe proper treatment for their patients. As responsible patients, we have our responsibility of revealing everything about our health and medical history to the doctors during a consultation. Remember! All doctors are not allowed to reveal your medical data to anyone (including your spouse or for research purposes) without you written agreement. This is what we call "Doctor-Patient Confidentiality". However, it's their job to report to Ministry of Health for various contagious diseases. Other than that, their lips are supposed to be sealed. Else, sue them!

As you can see, for a doctor to do his job well, we need to play our "patient" part well. So just be a patient and stop playing doctor!

In the end of the day, we are ultimately responsible for our health...

Disclaimer: Whatever you "thought" you have just read above is a result of your own hallucinations only. Hence, I am NOT responsible for putting up a white blank space on one of my post. Don't blame me for anything because you are imagining this disclaimer as you read. If you ever need any real advise on medicines, ask a real doctor :P

Jotted down by Egghead :: at around 9/22/2005 02:42:00 PM :: and invited 3 Blah(s):


3 Blah(s) by: Blogger Lazymama, Blogger mumsgather, Blogger Egghead,

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