Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q=Quacks (and other bad doctors)

First, please let me define "quack." According to, a "quack" is a fraudulent or ignorant pretender to Medical skill." I find it interesting that a quack can be either fraudulent (intending deceit for profit) or ignorant (lacking in knowledge). For more information, check out Along with "quacks," I want to discuss "bad" doctors: those who aren't doing a good job, and/or who don't care to improve.

I don't want to wax philosophical on the nature and problem of quackery, there are a number of websites that can do that for us (see above). Instead, I want to share a few stories from my personal experience. Whether these doctors were bad or quacks, I'm not sure. I only know that I will never go back to them, and I will encourage anyone who asks to boycott them as well. (I'm not going to "name names" here, but if you'd like to know, just comment with an e-mail address and I'll send info to you.)

I went to a chiropractor many years ago, who helped me with pain before we discovered that I had broken bones (L5). Someone suggested recently that maybe he broke those bones! I don't think that's true, but it's a funny/horrible thought! The reason I'm putting him in this blog is because of my subsequent interactions with good chiropractors. This man would place my limbs so that I resembled a pretzel, and then he would (essentially) push me until something popped. Sometimes (even at the time), I felt like I was stuck at a professional wrestling event! The good thing is that he did help my pain (although I often felt "bruised" after his manipulations), and I'm grateful for that (and that he didn't make things any worse).

Again, during the long ago back issues (which ended in a spinal fusion), my Mom and I went to an orthopedic doctor here in Greensboro. I went to his office, with complaint of lower back pain. He had me lay face down on the exam table, and he proceeded to dig his thumbs into my back. At the time, I had not learned to say "ouch"; I was trying to be brave, and just grimaced instead. Finally, though my body spasmed to get away from his hands, and I got up from the table angry. My mother was incensed as well, and we stalked out of his office. We took my x-rays (although the secretary relinquished them hesitantly) and never looked back. Even now, I see that he has moved to another practice with very reputable doctors. It makes me shiver to see his picture on the wall. Recently, my Mom and I were discussing this horrible event, and she reminded me about part of her conversation with him. She asked about my having children in the future (I was 19 at the time). His answer was a rather sarcastic "not without a lot of pain and problems." Who would say this to a patient on their first visit? Ugh!

More recently (during the first year of my current pain, 2007), I was referred to a physiatrist for cortisone injections. At the time, I didn't know that I would have years of pain; I didn't know that I would see more than a dozen doctors and therapists; I thought that the physiatrist had my answers. In hindsight, however, I think I wasted a year with her. In the course of 12 months of injections, she shot me with cortisone 10-12 times (and each time was at the day surgical center, with anaesthesia and a day out of work). Now, I know that this is far too much  for my system to handle. Now, I realize that she was "shooting in the dark" without any plan. She just injected one spot and waited for results (or lack thereof). The next time, she shot me somewhere else; again, with no results. In the last month, she injected the same place 3 separate times, hoping to "overwhelm" the pain/nerves. Fortunately, after a year of no significant or lasting relief, I asked my family doctor for a new recommendation. But, I wish that I had known more at the time, and had not submitted my body to that kind of abuse.

So, those are my horror stories. Want to comment with one of your own?

There are some therapies that I haven't tried, because I think most of the practioners are quacks. Acupuncture did provide some temporary relief (but not enough to justify the cost). I never tried Reiki (seems to me the perfect quackery), or iris reading, or crystals. Most of the "new age" stuff seems too "out there" for me. What is your experience?
I have learned to take control over my own health and treatment options. Never again will I trust a doctor's opinion without a second opinion or further research. AND, I say "ouch" whenever a doctor does ANYTHING that hurts!

1 comment:

  1. I so agree, as you know I recently went to one orthopedist and immediately went to a second one the next day because I didn't feel comfortable with the first one. Good advice!