Article Index

Why doctors can't diagnose

Dr. Hyde agrees that doctors are brilliantly trained, but they aren’t compensated for their time to do an in-depth evaluation of patients. He pointed out that years ago, physicians were wealthy and that is no longer the common case. Now, they are burdened with too heavy a patient load and not enough time. Without an appropriate reimbursement schedule and extra help doctors either can’t or won’t spend the time.

Dr. Hyde gave an example of how he writes up an order for an MRI; he uses up to a two-page summary listing all the details of the patient’s symptoms and what he is looking for. Radiologists are so intrigued they want his patients.

Many times physicians are not able to do what would seem logical: ordering and obtaining tests; examining results; reading consultation reports; going to the hospital to review complex tests, or question the consultant or hospital specialists on test results.

In a further explanation, Dr. Hyde used the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN as an example saying “They do a very good and expensive job with many illnesses, but CFIDS/ ME is not among them. Having the patient there for a couple of days of testing does not mean quality face time with physicians.” Dr. Hyde’s overall point was that unless people are paid for doing work, they won’t do the work.

Another point made was how a patient presents to the doctor. It is a quick judgment call on the part of the physician, but the stature, walk, dress, and speech of the patient goes into a quick sizing-up. If the patient is complaining of vague symptoms (most people with ME/CFS tend to be vague), many doctors jump to the “obvious” and easy diagnosis of a psychiatric condition and can be dismissive of the patient.