Sunday, March 10, 2013

Equal medical treatment for all?

I have noticed that not all people are treated equally when it comes to medical treatment. This was true already hundreds of years ago. Autistic children are not treated like other people. They are not shown the respect that even animals get when they are sick. This fact dawned on me when I read the story of a person stricken by cancer who heroically researched all she could to beat her, in this case, colon cancer.

Another story was the story published all over the world recounting that a small child was cured of HIV. Mind you, it is wonderful when a cancer can be cured especially when the ill person does her own research, and the reporting is great, too, and the little child is wrested from an almost certain fate of having to take medicines all life long or die. Anyone who can beat his own cancer or HIV should be cheered on.

The reporting of those stories is reserved for special diseases like cancer and HIV and other really serious illnesses. An autism cure is not getting that benefit. There is no great cheering when the autistic person starts talking and becomes a social being just like everyone else. My hunch is that this is because there is a real prejudice regarding the curability of those illnesses called autism spectrum disorders. Does anyone ever even think that the environment has caused this person to experience a devastating toxic reaction? There is a consensus that these illnesses can only be contained with proper management, i.e. give pills as treatment and or spend hours in therapy with only limited signs of improvement.

What is so bad about that? Here is the deal: when an illness is thought to be curable, it finds physicians who know or want to know how to cure it. But when people with autism or any of those other handicapping illnesses wind up in a doctor's office, they are treated almost like bad air. Those people are near invisible, and the doctor tries to get out of there as soon as the bare minimum is "accomplished". The autistic person cannot say what's wrong. And the doctor is safe from scrutiny. There is no investigation of anything the parents have to say because mothers don't know anything, and what's worse they are looked at and treated with condescension.

It's partly most physicians feel powerless and want to shut down their senses to that tragedy.

It's a prejudice that those people are incurable. In the Middle-Ages people like that were put in insane asylums or hidden in closets. The main reason was that no known cure existed and it was too much work to think that it was worth while looking for a potential cure. Granted some of those illnesses are incurable. They may be genetic, and a cure may be far out of reach. But to give up on looking; that's discrimination.

It is a fact that autism can be cured. I know it from parents who did the supposedly impossible task of curing their autistic child.

When an autistic person is cured, he or she is purported never to have even had that illness. The child or person was misdiagnosed; so they say. It just does not occur to that physician that there may be a path to a cure that has not yet been explored. It takes intelligence and a really curious mind, and maybe even hard work.

It is way too easy to sideline those people and not trust what a mother might say: "Doctor, my child was mercury poisoned!"


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