Sunday, November 04, 2007

Due Diligence

I read a lot about due diligence when lawyers do their research for a case. Due diligence is checking in all possible corners for similar cases, and when they find them, they check for decisions judges made, and whether the decisions were turned over on appeal or whether the law still applies. At least they are supposed to do that. That's called Shepardizing. This tells you about the status of those cases. Much of the research is done behind the scenes and the only way the client finds out about that part of the lawyer's work is later seen in a bill.

My issue is not with the due diligence of a lawyer. My issue is with doctors. I would like to see due diligence in a doctor. I would like to see a patient to at least be weighed. I would like to see the doctor look at the whole body and feel for the liver, listen to the heart, thump the lungs, and when there is pain in a limb to check for a broken bone. Those things are the bare minimum. Doctors often don't do that. But if the patient actually tells the doctor what he thinks the problems are, he says "no," without giving it another thought. I wouldn't come out stating that this happens, and with increasing frequency at that, if I hadn't experienced it in person. He really should have x-rayed. (In fact there was a broken bone in my son's case). This case turned out to be much worse than I am letting on. But for the sake of brevity I will not get into details about that. I have come across so many doctors who have only committed to their memory what they learned in medical school. I don't see many doctors reading up on a subject to see what the latest stand of knowledge in a given field is. I recently heard about a study of breast cancer in black women. All the well-known facts were included in the report except the most recent findings about the influence of Vitamin D deficiency on breast cancer.

There are certain fields that doctors treat with disbelief. That is because they can't diagnose something that has not been officially sanctioned by the Medical Association. An example is mercury poisoning. Whenever a patient comes with all the symptoms of mercury poisoning, he looks at the patient with a sideways glance and suggests an antidepressant or a muscle relaxant. The idea of actually looking for mercury poisoning doesn't cross his mind. If he had done his due diligence, he would see that mercury poisoning can be tested for with DMSA. This test is called a mercury challenge test. Reading up on this is like legal research. Google makes it so easy. Non-emergency mercury poisoning is not reimbursed by your HMO. Chelation therapy isn't either. My son knows this, and I was told that Kaiser would perform all the tests and even chelate, if I paid for it myself.

Doctors, please, do your due diligence! I might help someone.


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