Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bad Smells in Medicine

My response to the article found here:

I'm going to get flamed for this one, even though it's not that radical. The latest study into smelling sickness indicates that people can smell the immune response in the sweat of other people. For several years, scientists have been trying to determine if dogs can be used to detect diseases like cancer. It might seem far fetched but the smell of someone's breath or urine used to be a common diagnostic tool before more accurate testing was devised--expensive, more invasive, accurate testing. That's where my interest starts.

I admit that since my father's and Uncle's (friend of the family) death and experiencing the hospital portion of that, I have a distrust for the standard Western medical establishment. I think they do a good job with urgent needs, a terrible job with chronic care and there's lots of room for improvement in every area between. I think outside the box, by nature. I can't turn it off. Every time they shove a needle in my arm I wonder if there's any less invasive way they could get the same results. I think the odds are that there is, that at least some people are working on it, and that their'd be a lot more effort in that direction if not for an attitude I see among many folks in the medical field.

The attitude is this, "We've always done it this way, we use the most accepted practices or we'd get sued or the insurance companies wouldn't pay for it, if there is a better way at some point someone will figure it out and tell me, in the mean time I know more than you and I'm not going to risk communicating anything to you but confidence in my skills and this establishment."

Let me tell you how that comes across to people like me, "I know what I'm doing, shut up and trust me, I don't have to justify myself." I know plenty of healthcare professionals who don't have that attitude. I love my primary Doc. Let me share what he does and says that makes a huge difference in my ability to trust him.

1st remember I'm a human being. I deserve respect not contempt and I'm unique. The most common answer may not be the right answer for me.

2nd Ignorance is not stupidity. I'm quite capable of understanding tests, diagnostics, procedures and the like: I'm just not familiar with them yet, because I haven't had to be.

3rd A lot of the time your diagnosis is based, at least in part, on the symptoms I report to you. We arrive at the diagnosis together and we should decide on the treatment together. That's the point when the talking burden shifts to you and you explain everything you can about the options and why you recommend the course of action that you do.

4th I'm aware that some of your curtness comes from the time clock you punch for the insurance company. That doesn't mean I like any more than you do. To some, it's a necessary evil. To me, insurance means I'm no longer the customer. I know the person you have to please is the insurance overlord, but I need you to help me be less aware of that. Pretend like I'm both your patient and your customer.

5th don't pretend like you have all the answers. It's a tough line to walk but you need to exude confidence that things will turn out alright without pretending to be God. I've met God and you're not him. I don't just need a smart Dr. I need a wise Dr. and when you know what you know AND you know what you don't know, my opinion of your wisdom goes up.

So how did we get here from smelling disease? Well, I like it when I ask a Dr. if there's a less invasive way to get test results, if he says, "I've read a couple articles about urine or saliva testing, it's very exciting but it's not here yet." Not, "this is how we do it." Because I'm that obnoxious patient who's read those articles. I don't like feeling like I, as a layman, have taken more time to research medical practices than my Dr. Especially if he/she tries to come off as a know-it-all.

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