Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Is about Medical Care, Not Sympathy

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swollen PIP jointMy Bear had an appointment to see his terrific pediatrician today again about his swollen finger joints. She was home with a cold, but we waited an hour to see an alternate. The fellow didn’t seem to welcome my questions or opinions.

I was in the familiar context of my pediatrician’s office – 6 years with 5 kids – that’s 30 years of service. And I was experiencing the familiar feeling of having someone make inaccurate statements about Rheumatoid disease. However, experiencing the two things together was entirely unfamiliar – and unacceptable.

I successfully suppressed my tearful desire to tell the guy how wrong he was. Care for my son’s hand – or health – does not depend on him, so arguing would be pointless. However, three things became crystal clear:

(1) No doctor can know everything about everything. But there’s one thing that makes ignorance unacceptable: arrogance. A doctor needs to know that he doesn’t know things, so he can continue to learn. Arrogance makes a doctor ineffective, unless he knows everything.

(2) I will not tolerate my son having the incompetent medical care that I’ve had. Remember my mother of a patient voice? If my son needs rheumatological care, he will see a professional that knows more about Rheumatoid disease than he does. It’s long been reported that general practitioners lack knowledge about RA.

(3) It emphasized the great need for the work that the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) has begun. As the RPF clarifies to the world the facts about Rheumatoid disease, people in many situations can experience less of such devastating ignorance that can cause confusion or delays in treatment. Erroneous notions about Rheumatoid disease obviously interfere with appropriate care decisions.

But first, I know you’re curious, here are a few of the facts the fellow had wrong:

  1. If an ankle, or knee, is swollen, “it has to be swollen here in this spot.”
  2. “It would hurt and be more stiff in the morning” if it were RA.
  3. An x-ray would help determine whether it’s RA (at this early stage).
  4. Genetic testing gives no help in determining whether it’s RA.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 5:00 am and is filed under Treating RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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