Medical Nonsense

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This comes from a reader who has been following me since the Placebo Journal days:

You had asked us to send our examples of the the quality nonsense.   Well, this is not a “quality measure,” but it is something that bothers me and seems to be getting worse.

Early on in my practice as a colon and rectal surgeon, when I would see a patient in my office with a fecal impaction, we would arrange for the visiting nurse to go to their home and disimpact the patient. We gave them instructions as to technique and the type of enema(s) to administer. It worked well.

I always examine these patients, including anoscopy to evaluate for a fissure (most do not have one). They are also given an appointment for follow up in 1-2 weeks to be sure it is successful. And, if they have not had a colon exam within the past few years, schedule one for them.

Then, Medicare stopped paying for the visiting nurse. So now these patients have to go to the E.R., it takes longer, and is considerably more expensive.

More recently, and even though we call the ER in advance and send with the patient a preprinted protocol of what to do, the patients are getting a CT scan (yes, a CT SCAN!!!) to be sure nothing else is going on even though they do not have abdominal pain.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “Medical Nonsense

  1. Cynthia Freel, MD
    August 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    That is a whole lotta BS if you get my meaning.

  2. tad hominem
    August 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Why make someone go to a hospital or er room for care that can be done at home ?? I thought the idea was to avoid expensive hospitals ? better to care for this in comfort of your home than go to er and call “code brown” just to generate more income for hospitals ?? and what if patient lives 40 miles from hospital ? nonsense, so I suspect politics

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