After my years in health care I'm still amazed that so many people think that health care is an exact science. They seem to think that practicing medicine is just a bunch of if:then statements (if you feel this, then you prescribe this) and finite solutions. The fact of the matter is that health care is still a huge guessing game and physicians are specially trained guessers who, while that sounds scarily vague, make the best guesses based on human history. The fact of the matter is, they often don't actually know, they just try what is the better of the evils.
Some things are easy. You have a burn. Debride the dead tissue, treat with whatever medication fits the level of burn, and wait. Some things are not so easy. You have a non-specific pain over here that's inhibiting your day to day life and causing your other systems to go out of their normal range. The doctor starts his guessing game with lab tests and imaging to rule out this or that as he or she hones in on what could be the true problem.
Don't get me wrong, and if I have any physicians or fans-o-physicians who are reading, don't get your back up, this is all in support of you. I don't mean to say that you're guessing as it's a bad thing. If medicine were as simple as a long list of if:then statements, then anyone could be a doctor; hell, we could keep the chart on the fridge and just take care of ourselves.
It's always been an annoyance to hear laypeople complain and bitch about hospitals. Think of your local hospital and then think of how many good stories you've heard about it vs. how many bad anecdotes and horror stories you've heard about it. So many of these stories reach my ear and as they're going on, I think through what probably actually happened and realize they're just going on their limited knowledge and painting a bad picture when they think they have the answer. "Well granny had was coughing up blood, they should have just given her a pill and sent her home!" yeah, there's a pill for that.....
I realize that there are malpractice situations out there. There are idiots with an MD after their name that I wouldn't let my hamster go to, but there are 1000 times more car wrecks in a day than there are medical malpractice cases. I think often times people think that because the first thing a doctor tries doesn't work within a 24 hour period, people call quackery. And that's a shame and a detriment to your own health.
My advice is to work WITH your doctor on your own care. You don't have to be a physician to take an active part in your health plan. Know what you have, know why you have it, ask why you need to take this medication or undergo that procedure. Ask AHEAD of time about any side effects and always ask, don't rely on reading alone, if there are food or drug interactions with what you're about to take especially if you see more than one doctor. Heath Ledger (rest his soul) showed us what can happen when one doctor doesn't know what the other is doing. There's one common denominator in all of your health care and that is You. Be proactive and work with your doctor.
Now you may ask, what brought about this medical rant? No clue. I just thought it was funny this morning that while I feel fine, the change in temps here in Chicago is affecting my sinuses. It's settled in my throat and has given me a froggy voice. When I feel like crap, I sound fine. Now I feel fine and I sound like a bad drag queen.