Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Specialists vs. Generalists

Back in the day, there was a town doctor who was backed up by a single specialist - the town barber who would specialize in dentistry with a pair of pliers if needed. Then doctors started specializing more and more and some how we are no in the time period where you have a primary care physician who seems to be really good at sending you to a specialist.

Sometimes if I go to my primary care physician, I question why I end up with three appointments with specialists as a result. I mean do I need to go to a gynecologist if the primary care could do a pelvic exam? Or am I special and need more doctors? Actually unless there is a problem I usually stay with my primary care for that. But some how I ended up with a GI doctor in my 20's - lots of tests resulted in a big fat nothing. 20 years later, I ended up with a hiatal hernia among other diagnosis. But I digress.

Wouldn't it be cool to only have ONE doctor to go to for almost every thing? That way they might be able to pick your photo out of a police lineup if the need arose. I see my specialists more often than my primary care. In fact I am switching to a new primary care this year because the old one didn't know who I was after seeing her for 10 years. From the patient's point of view, it would be really cool to have a doctor who knew you and your issues.

But there can be benefits in having specialists in some areas. I am all for having surgeons who specialize in surgery. Please don't cut me open unless you have done this over 1000 times, thanks! Now it turns out radiologists are far more accurate in reading scans if they have read lots of them. Okay, you can't read my scans unless you have been doing this a long time. So unless you have experience, don't touch my stuff! If you don't have experience go away - no experience to be learned on my body.

This goes back to the conundrum - experience required but if you don't have experience no one will hire you so you can't get experience. But its not my problem on how you can't get a job without experience and no one will hire you without experience. But wait, I am getting off topic.

I want a personal general doctor to take care of me and make sure I get care but I only will have specialists for things like surgery, radiology, gynecology, oncology, radiation oncology, dentist, periodontist, psychiatry, psychology, ... Crap, I guess I have lots of specialists. Maybe I'll be happy with a primary care doctor who gives me primary care.

1 comment:

WhiteStone said...

Regarding specialists...Hubby, who is ancient himself, tells of his father getting his tonsils out as a boy, sitting in the barber chair. Walked himself home and passed out on the doorstep.

I'm soooo thankful for today's medical care! *big smile*