Sad for our current health care culture

Jane, a 10-year-old girl, is unable to sleep at night. She was prescribed sleep medication, which then makes her sleep in class during the day. "Let's take the medication earlier,” says the doctor. "She has lot of homework to finish and she falls asleep almost immediately after taking the pill," says the mother. "Let's then decrease the strength," says the doctor. Mother tried, but a lower strength of the medication does not work. "She does not fall asleep." The doctor tried two more medications, he tried his best, and Jane's sleep difficulty persists.

Sad for our current health care culture by Mardoche Sidor, MD

I speak with many colleagues and friends, physicians and non-physicians, and any conversation around healthcare almost always includes the word "sad." 

In the case of Jane, our little 10-year-old girl, she was overweight, she suffers from separation anxiety, in addition, sleep apnea and anxiety run in her family. She saw a primary care doctor, who in his busy schedule, coupled with Jane's mother's nervousness and caring, wants to do the right thing for a 10-year-old girl, who just cannot sleep. 

We are complex and our body and brain are not separate. They are one. We bring our genes, our experiences, and we are all affected by our circumstances. The neighborhoods where we live, our financial stressors, our relationships, and many other social and psychological factors, they all determine our state, feeling, and conditions. 

This is an era where "medication is the answer to everything" and where doctors are being forced to listen less, knowing 80% percent of the diagnosis lies in a good history. We are therefore right to be saying "we are sad for our current health care culture." 

It is sad that we have become a world where what could be resolved with simple listening is being chased after through some forms of magic pills. It is sad that instead of trying to understand our needs and use them to our benefits, we have opted for a “pill for anxiety” like a  “Xanax”, or “Klonopin,” despite the evidence of long-term negative effects on our memory and other cognitive functions.

Sad for our current health care culture.

Please share your thoughts. Looking forward to hearing from you. 

As ever,