Whew, you have a college reunion weekend (Chris’s 10 year), a sinus infection, and a bunch of house guests, and all of a sudden it’s 2 weeks since your last post. So much to catch up on — not that all that much has happened, though I kind of feel like I should have something worth posting after such a long pause, but there’s also so many blogs to keep up with, too. If you all could just stop having interesting things to say when I’m busy, that’d be great.
One thing that happened last month was Zoe and I both being on antibiotics. Zoe for her perforated eardrum and I for a sinus infection. Now in both cases, I had done research, and in both cases, it seems like a lot of doctors are recommending not using antibiotics, in part because they don’t seem to significantly shorten the time of the infections, and of course, in order to keep down the incidence of antibiotic-resistant bugs. So I went to the doctors expecting to not get antibiotics, and specifically deciding not to ask for them. But in both cases, the doctors prescribed them. In the case of my sinus infection, I did ask the doctor if antibiotics would really help, but she just gave me a strange look, and said yes, it was bacterial. I was in enough pain (I’ve never had a sinus infection before, damn! I was literally calling home crying to my mommy) that I didn’t have the energy or desire to argue.
It all got me thinking about confronting doctors if you’ve done research and disagree with their diagnosis or treatment. Between infertility, pregnancy, and Zoe’s vision problems, I’ve done a lot of searching and reading the medical literature, but as of yet, haven’t really come across any cases where I seriously questioned what my doctors were telling me. And honestly, I’m not sure what I would do in that situation. Part of it is just my general dislike of confrontation, but part of it, I think, is from library school. We learned to do the literature searches for any medical topic, for sure, but it was also hammered home that we were not to ever offer any medical advice or interpretation of what we found (the same is true for legal advice). I think that’s absolutely appropriate for someone serving the role of librarian, but it’s bled over into my research as a patient, too.
I know I’m not alone in doing my own research on medical issues, and I’m wondering if any of you have run into situations where your research differs from what your doctor tells you. Did you bring it up? How did that go? And if there are any medical-types, how have you handled patients that disagreed with your opinions based on their research? Do you want your patients to bring research they’ve done to you, or does that overstepping boundaries?