Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Health and Gender, Inflexibility

Stories like this one are now, thankfully (in a roundabout way), quite common in the media. This overriding idea that conditions of ill health, and more importantly the people suffering from them, do not always conform to the written symptoms and law.

There is an arguement that parts of medicine are stuck in quite rigid 20th century thinking. The recent advent of circadian theory in relation to drug administration, especially chemotherapy for cancer patients, highlighted the fact that different individuals will feel the effects of certain medication better at specific times of day. Conversely, they will weather side effects with less stress. As the link above points out, there is this idea that young women may not exhibit the usual symptoms of Autism the books harp on about and therefore might slip under the radar. Harking back to a previous article, older books and sources on eating disorders may place little importance on the possibility of male sufferers.

The overall point is: people should be treated as individuals within the discipline of medicine. Which is kinda what modern nursing has been harping on about for a good while now, and rightly so. Obviously, there is little chance each patient (especially within the NHS) could have a personal retinue of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals studying their case 24/7, at the patient's beck and call. That's just silly. There has to be a middle ground somewhere between the two ideas, and in my experience there are some healthcare professionals who would rather tick boxes than open their minds. This idea of uniform treatment sometimes drives me crazy. Doctors who, despite the fact a patient might not be scheduled for surgery until 4pm on the next days list, don't think to alter a patient's Nil By Mouth setup and starve them from 6pm the day before like everyone else. Little things like that get to me, sometimes. On the other hand, I love it when I see some eyes open, questions asked and even far off possibilities explored. More of that, please.

No comments: