It’s another head-meet-desk week over at the clinic.
Remember this woman? Well, she’s been on the bovine thyroid extract for a while now, and her thyroid functions – quelle surprise! – haven’t gotten any better. I haven’t yet managed to contact her about it, but maybe I can help her see that bovine thyroid extract with the thyroxine removed isn’t going to help her very much.
In a related matter, another patient of mine has been in the hospital for the past week with a severe gallbladder infection, in extreme pain, caused by gallstones obstructing her cystic duct and common hepatic duct. She is scheduled to undergo an ERCP to remove the stones, and then the surgeons can get to the business of removing her gallbladder. Which is what I suggested she do when her symptoms started 6 months ago and were nowhere near as bad as they are now. But she preferred to go to an iridologist, who claimed to have “melted” her gallstones via naturopathic treatments.
In case you were wondering, I don’t say “I told you so” in cases like this. I think this woman has more than learned her lesson. But when things like this happen (and they happen more often than you’d think), I always wonder if there was something I could have said, but didn’t, to convince patients at the time their condition is first diagnosed. Obviously, patients have autonomy and the right to choose whichever course of action they wish, but I hate to think that if only I had said X, done Y, explained Z…they would have been convinced and undergone the correct treatment on time.
Apparently, I’m not the only one wondering about this. Here’s an even more extreme case of a young woman who declined cancer treatment which would have most probably cured her in favor of alternative treatments – with entirely predictable (and very sad) results. I guess I’m lucky that all my patients so far, when faced with a diagnosis of cancer, realized that you can’t play around with it.
I also spent a good half hour this evening trying to convince another patient, this time a woman with rehumatoid arthritis, that stopping her medicines as suggested by her iridologist was a very bad idea. You can read about the fraud that is iridology at Quackwatch.