Probably one of the most troubling presentations is the patient who is experiencing signs and symptoms of illness and is seeking a label to explain their discomfort, but is turned away by medical experts who give the patient a clean bill of health.
The approach of symptom management under existing disease categories has its limitations, not only as a medical system, but in the injustice to a large number of patients who have signs and symptoms that do not fit into The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy disease categories.
The system of classifying diseases with their “appropriate” drug solutions is very limited, because the patient’s symptomatology may not always package itself well under the existing labels, causing real conditions to either not be treated at all or be managed by drugs that are indicated to diminish or inhibit the symptoms.
It is often in these presentations that we witness the flagrant compartmentalization of the patient’s body. Each part that produces a symptom receives a prescription, but the overall state of the patient is barely improved. Nothing reaches the underlying “why” behind all the accumulation of symptoms, and nothing speaks to the patient as a whole.
This problem is at the very heart of the failure of so much of modern medicine. In my next post I’ll discuss the case study of a former patient that poignantly illustrates the situation.