OK…so every once in a while I have to take a break from veinblogging to reflect on the Internet as a whole. Being a nerd…no, please…dont all jump up and disagree with me too hastily,thanks…I took a pretty early interest in the Internet back in the early 90’s. Back then it was a much more rough and tumble place…no pretty graphic interfaces to help you navigate around…and when search engines like Internet Explorer came around it took about 30 minutes to get your results…if things didn’t just crash after minute 29.
So, yeah…these are heady times we live in where, in 3 seconds, we can get an answer to just about any question we have…using our phones…on an airplane
But…what kind of answers are we getting? Is the info accurate? How do we know?
Fer instance…on an egosurfing whim…I decided to search Google Images for “David Rosen MD Chicago”. Here’s a few of the things I came up with (no joke):
So…what are we supposed to make of the info we find on the internet?!
When I was growing up [I can hear the millennials groaning, awaiting a lecture about the “old days”]…in my home there were two sources of information: a MASSIVE Webster’s unabridged dictionary and a complete set (which I’m pretty sure had a publication date that was pre-lunar-landing) of The Encyclopaedia Britannica.
As for the encyclopedia… as a kid in the ’70’s, I envisioned a room full of geniuses cloistered away in some pipe-smoke-filled, wood-panelled room somewhere in England. Toiling away, day and night like medieval monks amassing and disseminating the most up-to-date info on, well…EVERYTHING. I’m sure there were tons of inaccuracies…but I guess I would have to wait for the next edition to figure that out [we never did get that next edition]. Or I would schlep down to the local library branch…end up forgetting the original question and instead reading another Choose Your Own Adventure book.
Nowadays we have Wikipedia. Look…Im the first to say it’s an awesome resource…but I’m sure there are as many or more inaccuracies. Now when I try to envision the authors there is definitely a different picture: a bunch of uber-nerds, like me, geeking out over their favorite subjects on their laptops while sitting on their couch in flannel pj pants and t-shirts. Who are these authors? Do they have an agenda beyond the objective transmission of facts? I dunno.
Or…we can Google the topic and sift through pages and pages of content…often framed with distracting ads…ever unsure of the validity of the info.
I can’t speak for everyone out there in the veiniverse of Phlebology (the discipline of medicine devoted to vein disease)…but I can tell you about my perspective on presenting info to patients.
Ahem. The patient, you, are the President of your body. Just like POTUS, you can’t be expected to know everything about everything. So…you surround yourself with advisors who are expert at the topic about which you need info. Doctors used to have this paternalistic, dictatorial approach to the doctor/patient relationship: You told doctor what bothers you; doctor tells you to do X, take medication Y and return to clinic at time Z. No if’s, and’s or but’s. Maybe you got an explanation. Maybe you got a few alternatives. Maybe not.
Times have changed…for the better, I think. In my practice…and in my veinblog…I have a simple agenda: I strive to be the best advisor I can be. I present the data as best I can…in a way that is understandable to all…and if not, I will try to give alternative explanations, analogies, etc. until patients have all the info they need to make the best decisions FOR THEMSELVES.
Everything you do…in regards to medical treatment and pretty much any activity in life…has potential consequences. Forget pills and procedures, WORDS can be damaging, if not deadly, if used indiscriminately [think that’s hyperbole? look up what happened in Rwanda when radio announcers incited genocide http://bit.ly/1CcXCMh].
So every word we say and every action we take has to be well-chosen and deliberate. That is most true when lives are on the line or when permanent adverse physical reactions are possible…which is pretty much any time you take a pill or undergo a treatment.
With respect to the treatment of chronic superficial venous insufficiency, varicose veins and spider veins, the definitive treatments have definitely come a long way due to the advances in technology. When a patient comes to me for their initial consultation visit, I use the 1-hour time slot to not only make diagnoses, but to do a LOT of teaching. I teach about vein disease in general and about the specific treatments that I would advise for the patient’s particular problems. I lay it all out there for them: potential benefits, possible risks, any alternatives if available…as well as doing what I can to help patients guestimate what their out of pocket costs might be (often in conjunction with their insurance carriers as many treatments may be coverable). I give patients handouts about procedures. I recommend websites for them to peruse (like this one!) at their leisure. I let them think about it, discuss with family, friends, clergy, whomever.
And THEN…the patient decides. This philosophy is a big part of the Rosen Vein Care difference…the way I envisioned my practice before I embarked on this epic adventure.
The upcoming veinblog posts will be dealing with definitive treatments for superficial venous insufficiency (read more about it here), the underlying issue for many patients that may lead to varicose veins and spider veins at the surface…along with nagging, annoying and many times activity-limiting symptoms.
I’ll do my best to lay the facts out there for you as best I can. If you are reading this post before your consultation visit, I encourage you to educate yourself about all things veiny prior to your appointment. Feel free to snoop around my website for more fun and useful info. Gather a list of questions…and ask away during your appointment…I love it!
If you are ready to schedule your initial consultation with me, call 847-272-8346…or you can click HERE and leave your contact info and we’ll call you!
I look forward to meeting you and helping your legs to feel and look better than they have in years…or at least to advise you on the possibilities available and help you decide for yourself!
See you soon!