When doctors can’t say: “I don’t know”

Mimi and Euniceby Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Pity the poor Emergency Department physician who first studied the results of my cardiac diagnostic tests. Despite my textbook heart attack symptoms of central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm, all of my test results that day appeared to be “normal”. So instead of admitting this puzzling discrepancy, the doc seized upon an alternative hypothesis as he pronounced confidently to me:

“You are in the right demographic for acid reflux!”

I was sent home from hospital that morning (feeling very embarrassed about having made a fuss over nothing) with his directions to make a follow-up appointment with my family physician to get a prescription for antacid drugs (to treat what turned out to be a misdiagnosis of indigestion).

Part of the problem with this scenario is the reluctance of some physicians to admit that they just do not know. Continue reading “When doctors can’t say: “I don’t know””

A second opinion from Dr. Google

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

I’ve often suspected that if only the E.R. doctor who misdiagnosed me with indigestion had bothered to just Google my cardiac symptoms (chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm), he and Dr. Google would have almost immediately hit upon my correct diagnosis: myocardial infarction, or heart attack. But instead, he pronounced that I was “in the right demographic” for acid reflux. I was sent home that day feeling horribly embarrassed for having made a fuss over nothing but a case of indigestion. As time went by, however, and my debilitating symptoms became truly unbearable, I turned to Dr. Google.

And that’s why I forced myself, despite my embarrassment, to return to the E.R. – but with the pronouncement of that first E.R. doc still ringing in my ears:

“It is NOT your heart!”

Many physicians out there, however, are not happy when their patients consult Dr. Google to research troubling symptoms like mine. Continue reading “A second opinion from Dr. Google”

What doctors really think about women who are ‘Medical Googlers’

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

Me: “My name is Carolyn, and I’m a Medical Googler.”

You, all together now: “Hello, Carolyn!”

This will come as no surprise to any of you regular readers, but I’m just a wee bit obsessed about All Things Cardiac. From the very minute I was sent home from hospital after surviving a heart attack, I started mainlining Google like it was a drug. I became hooked. I threw myself into researching women’s heart disease in a determined attempt to figure out what the heck had just hit me. And after I had the opportunity to spend five days at Mayo Clinic in October, I became truly insufferable. Continue reading “What doctors really think about women who are ‘Medical Googlers’”