Why I Think Doctors Should Take Time to Read Stories on The Mighty


It took me a solid six years, and countless specialists, to arrive at a diagnosis. This isn’t unusual for my illnesses. As a matter of fact, some people wait over 10 years for diagnosis, and in rarer cases, even longer.

I feel like this is something that can change. While some illnesses are very hard to diagnose and involve ruling out a lot of things over years, there are others that are missed by different specialists.

 

On The Mighty, there are 8,000 patients and family members or friends of patients pouring their feelings about their medical situations into words. Imagine if every doctor read even just a few articles. What if they were able to read and process what their patients are feeling?

Often a doctor appointment is short. You’re in and you’re out, and in that very short amount of time, the doctor sometimes has to make a judgment about you. There are so many variables they have to consider, and there is not enough time in an appointment for the doctor to understand not only the issues and concerns the patient comes in with, but also their feelings surrounding it. And so a lot of assumptions have to be made about the patient. This can be based on their history, their appearance, their age. And it often leads to the patient leaving the appointment feeling like they weren’t taken seriously, or that the doctor didn’t care.

This is the type of thing that leads to an example situation like this: A patient comes in complaining of overwhelming fatigue and joint pain. They have a history of depression and anxiety and are on antidepressants. Based on this history and the lack of time able to be spent with the patient, the patient is told they should try and exercise a bit more, and they run some very standard blood tests and when they come back normal, they’re told it’s probably just a manifestation of their depression, or just normal aches and pains.

This is just a random example. But if more doctors read articles from The Mighty, from the people whose lives are in their hands, maybe things would be different.

I can’t help but think it would be so helpful for a gastroenterologist to go into the gastroenterology section of The Mighty and read some articles and get a patient’s perspective on life living with the illnesses they treat. Reading about their experiences with doctors so they can better themselves. Because everyone can always learn and better themselves.

They see visits with dozens of patients a day through their own eyes. But what if they got to see the visit from the eyes of the patient? Maybe we’d be a bit more understood. Maybe we’d be a bit more heard. Maybe we’d be diagnosed and treated more quickly than we are today.

Follow this journey on Love, Light and Insulin.

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