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You’re Sick, Check your Specialty and Hope You are Right!

My wife during a recent hospitalization had a recurrence of the same problem. Blood loss. After numerous doctors and numerous transfusions it has been pretty much the same M.O., replace the blood and send her home.

Does it matter where she is bleeding from if you can fix it so easily with a couple units of blood? It does to the patient. When we have holes in our gas tank none of us would think twice about just filling the car up more often. We would try to find the hole and fix it.

People’s blood levels go down because they are either losing blood, destroying blood or not making blood. This is not rocket science. So why not find out what the problem is? One reason for this is fractionated medical care. The last physician to see my wife prior to discharge was a GI specialist. This is the person who specializes in the gastrointestinal tract. The implication of course is that my wife is leaking blood there. When I explained that this was the fourth or fifth time for transfusions the doctor says she needs more of a workup then. Perhaps she needs a bone marrow. This of course will tell us among a number of other things if she is not making blood.

In the DFW area a GI doctor does not do bone marrows. Why on earth would that be? I graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1968 but we did bone marrows and liver biopsies as junior medical students. Now, another specialty does that. Maybe we should see a hematologist or an oncologist. Which one we ask? A hematologist studies the blood. An oncologist is a specialist in cancer. Evidently both of them can do a bone marrow. That is just taking a sample of the tissue between some boney layers that produce blood cells. The problem is now my wife has to go back to a designated family practitioner and have them refer her to one of the doctors covered on her insurance plans. Rather than taking care of this in one simple admission we are just back to square one. If my wife runs out of gas in the meantime at least all of these doctors have spread the risk, haven’t they? It can all be blamed on another specialty.

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