Thursday, May 19, 2016

My HealthCare Experience - Danger Wil Robinson, Danger!

I have to say, I have not had the best experience with healthcare as it relates to my diabetes.  I have variously run into incompetent professionals, medical mistakes, corruption and just general attitudes that are more focused on business and making money than the patient.   Medical errors are in fact the third leading cause of death in the US.  And that doesn't even account for many of the things I have run into.  I consider the healthcare system to actually be a safety hazard to me as a patient.  I'll relate just a few anecdotes of my experience below, but before that I think it is important that we all protect ourselves against being harmed by healthcare.  That is why I think it is useful before walking through the door to your doctors office to watch this video or remind yourself about the danger.  Danger Wil Robinson, Danger!

Many healthcare professions are not competent to give advice to PWD.  I've had GPs admit they don't know how to properly test and diagnose for diabetes.  I've gotten really poor dietary advice.  I've been told by way too many doctors that I could cure my diabetes by just losing weight.  And when I looked into why this has happened I learned that most doctors (most Type 2s see GPs) only get a day or two of education in diabetes.  How does this prepare a doctor when one third of the patients that go through their door will have diabetes.  It isn't surprising they don't display stronger competency.

And I have experienced a constant stream of mistakes.  It seems I must check everything.  My doctors routinely cannot properly order tests or write prescriptions correctly.   I have had doctors refuse to accept the prescribed drugs cause recognized side effects and been sent on a course of cascading prescriptions to treat drug side effects.  At one point this cascade resulted in my blood pressure reach 200/160.  I consider myself lucky to have survived without permanent harm. In the end it was only my rebelling against my doctors that saved me, they weren't going to save me.  And a visit to the hospital is in itself could kill you even if you walk through the doors perfectly healthy so I really don't want to go there.

Finally, what has upset me the most is the corruption rampant through the system.  That industries like pharmaceutical and agriculture influence dietary and medical guidelines for PWD.  That payors (like insurers and Medicare) intervene in our care assuring that costs are limited and profits are made even though PWD suffer harm.  And most alarming of all, there are professionals out there who are corrupt.  They pitch their latest scam to "Cure" diabetes when it just doesn't work or they are like my previous endo ("He Who Shall Not Be Named") who has accepted nearly $1,000,000 from drug companies in order to change his prescribing practice and influence other doctors to change their prescribing practice.  You can look up your doctor at "Dollars for Doctors."

Having diabetes means that you suffer nearly constant contact with the healthcare system.  And every contact means you put your health and life at risk because of the hazards.  The healthcare system is a very serious hazard for those of us with diabetes and I think it is prudent for each of us to silently say "Danger Wil Robinson, Danger" before we enter that doctors door.


  1. Yikes, so scary what you have been through...glad you are OK today! The corruption in the health care system really is sad. I hope changes come soon!

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is indeed scary dealing with many HCPs, given how utterly incompetent they are at dealing with diabetes.
    I didn't realize that most T2D people see GPs, not endocrinologists. Do you know why that is?

    1. It is estimated that the number of endos involved with clinical practice is only about 6,000. Compared to the 3 million who have type 1 and the nearly 20 million who have diagnosed type 2 and it is easy to understand that there just isn't the capacity. Many endos simply turn away most type 2s and only take those who are in such serious condition with comorbidities that they simply cannot be treated without a specialist(s). I personally feel it is my right to seek a specialist and do so since my insurance will pay for it and my endo will treat me.

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  4. My opinion exactly. Keep up the good work and advocacy!