I recently received a letter in the mail from my internal medicine doctor, a great woman who has been very supportive of my alternative approach to my health care. With her help I have been able to continue my IV clindamycin treatments every month which are helping me to keep my Scleroderma under control. This treatment is a very "outside the box" treatment and I have been so grateful to my internal medicine doctor, we'll call her Dr. B, for her support. However, as I said, I recently received a letter from her stating that she was no longer going to be able to see any of her patients, she was moving her practice and concentrating on treating senior citizens. Well, this was a big shock to me because she has always been an amazing doctor and her field of specialty is lyme and babesia among other things, so for her to completely change her field of specialty was surprising to me. However, I really respect her and so I supported her decision and although I was devastated to lose her, I really thought she wanted this change of pace. So fast forward a few days to my appointment with another one of my doctors, Dr. R, one who actually knows Dr. B and knows that I have been her patient. Well, imagine my surprise when I found out from him that she was leaving her practice, a practice that she has fought for, because of bullying. I knew that she was having issues with other doctors and the state because she wasn't following their recommended treatment plans, but I also knew that she and other doctors like her who were using the same types of treatments were really helping their patients, I figured that surely this counted for something. In fact Dr. R told me that she actually won her case against the state! She actually was given the ability to practice the way she was, because her treatments were appropriate and better yet, actually helping others, however despite her win, she was still getting bullied by other doctors, and was probably bullied by drug companies, so despite winning her case and being allowed to continue exactly what she was doing she felt so bullied that she is leaving all of her research and her passion for this cause behind to go and do something she has no interest in so that she can live her life in peace.
Now I don't fault Dr. B for this, because I know that the pressure the American Medical Association (AMA) can put on a doctor is intense and I know that other doctors tend to make matters worse by trying to discredit doctors like her who think outside the box. In the AMA there is no room for outside the box thinkers, because outside the box thinkers can cause drug companies to lose big money and if drug companies lose big money, because doctors have found treatments that are cheaper, or that don't require their drugs then the AMA will lose big money as well because who do you think sends large amounts of funding to medical schools and who do you think helps fund the AMA? So because of this amazing doctors like Dr. B stop doing what they do best and patients like me and you end up falling through the cracks.
It seems insurmountable to fight against drug companies and the AMA, but how are we going to keep the good doctors unless we do. Now I am not saying that all "outside the box" doctors are right, or even that what they do is helpful, but I am saying that the ones that are helpful are getting shut down along with the quacks. I am also not saying that all "inside the box" thinkers are bullies, because that would be wrong as well. I am just saying that there are amazing doctors out there who are really helping their patients and I don't want to see them all be bullied into quitting. What am I going to do without Dr. B? This is definitely a sad day, and all I can do is pass the story on to you and hope that somehow, somewhere their is someone out their who can help.