Monday, May 01, 2006

Calling any geriatricians

…HA and her family have had bad luck with doctors keying in on older patients and appreciating their outlook and problems.

…Some docs talk semi-baby talk and ooze out the charm, then when the elderly person says something wacky or can’t answer a question, the doctor acts all confused. “Why, there is something wrong with this old gal, she doesn’t make sense.”

…(In the interest of full disclosure, HA’s mother does make a point of asking the doctors if they know they have long eyelashes. But still.)

…Older people can’t handle meds as well or the same way as younger ones. They can’t process those jugs of pills in some cases.

…In a way, they need specialization just as children do.

…Yet barely 1% of all doctors specialize in the elderly.

…Of the nation’s 144 med schools, only five have geriatrics departments.

…In Britain this would be 100% of schools. In Japan 19 out of 88 med schools have such training.

…So why not train all doctors to be more cognizant and tolerant of the needs of the elderly?

…The Bush admin just axed the money to start on this out of the House version of the 2006 budget, though the Senate reinstated some money.

…HA once saw a doctor come to the waiting room in person to fetch an older patient and he all but yanked her from her chair, saying, “Hurry up, chop chop.”

…In another case HA knows about, an old man needed hernia surgery and the doctor said, “Well, why don’t we let God take care of it?”

…No! Why don’t we operate?

…The man is fine now.

…God can take care of these problems soon enough.

…In fact, recent studies show that older people do as well with chemo and cancer surgery as their younger counterparts and may not want to wait for the Almighty to take over in His special way.

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