- Doctors are becoming increasingly hesitant to advise outside of standards or protocols while patients are experiencing more symptoms.
- Modern medicine views the body as separate pieces, hence the structure of specialists in the allopathic model.
- The term "iatrogenic" refers to harm brought on by the provider.
What happens if you have a symptom and the doctor doesn't believe you? Even worse, what if the doctor dismisses what you are telling them and perhaps even refers you for a psychological evaluation instead of taking your symptoms seriously?
Unfortunately, this situation is happening more and more in the medical field. Patients' cases are becoming increasingly more complicated, and doctors still use reductive reasoning when assessing cases.
The relationship between the doctor and patient is very intimate, requiring openness on both sides. Patients must disclose their present reality with their health, while doctors must be open and willing to think outside the box. Unfortunately, various legislative rulings, federal mandates, and conflicting public health statementts have strained the doctor-patient relationship. As a result, doctors are becoming increasingly hesitant to advise outside of standards or protocols while patients are experiencing more and more unique symptoms.
With the allopathic medical model, the provider is trained in a reductionist manner, reducing symptoms to determine what disease process could be causing the symptoms. This methodology differs from holistic medicine, which sees one organ system's relationship to another and how environmental toxicity may impact a person's health.
Many of the principles of holistic medicine are contradictory to the practice of modern medicine. In holistic medicine, symptoms are seen as messengers for the body's imbalances instead of signs of disease. Modern medicine views the body as separate pieces, hence the structure of specialists in the allopathic model. This makes it even more difficult for providers to observe and listen to their patients as a whole people. If their symptoms pertain to another organ system they do not specialize in, they may not see the correlation between them and the organ system.
Dismissing symptoms, ignoring signs, and doubting the patient can lead to injury. The term iatrogenic refers to harm brought on by the provider. Iatrogenic results from not just providers dismissing their patients but also performing procedures, prescribing medicine, and treating conditions incorrectly. This comes at risk in a reductionist model, which has side effects. When a doctor does not recognize a patient's symptoms, this can lead to further distrust of the medical community.
Symptoms are not in a person's head; if the symptoms are stress-driven, the symptoms are accurate to the patient. Being curious about the sources of the patient's symptoms can lead to a more thorough evaluation of the case. Even if the doctor is unable to label the disease based on the symptoms, acknowledging the symptoms exist can be deeply validating to the patient. Educating the patient about possible correlations between their organ functions and their symptoms can provide a level of understanding for the patient. Patients often look for a name for their symptoms to feel safer and more secure. Reassuring the patient that their bodies were made to heal can also assist the patient in feeling at ease through the process of their healing.
Labeling the person's condition, while it can be comforting, can also be wrong; therefore, treatments assigned to that specific condition can cause harm. Patients have an assortment of complex needs, requiring providers to not only take them seriously but also to think beyond the obvious, so they do not cause further harm.
Fraser S. (2021). The toxic power dynamics of gaslighting in medicine. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 67(5), 367–368. https://doi.org/10.46747/cfp.6705367
Peer, R. F., & Shabir, N. (2018). Iatrogenesis: A review on nature, extent, and distribution of healthcare hazards. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 7(2), 309–314. https://doi.org/10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_329_17