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Medicine in the Techno Age

One aspect of medicine that is not spoken of alot, unless one either has first hand knowledge yourself or through a loved one, is deseases that come under the Orphan illness catagory.

Often these illnesses present with a myriad of different often disabling symptoms, changes the life of the person as they previously knew it, and yet upon investigation, no definitive cause or specific desease can be found.

Very often, the person who is ill, is passed from doctor to doctor, all of them mystified, and many of them end up saying “its all in your head” which is soul destroying to the person who is sat there listening to this “expert opinion” desperate for someone to help them medically, afraid of the consequences if they are not helped, and desperate to be believed they are ill, not malingerers, hyperchonidrachs and/or time wasters.

Neurologically, there are many of these illnesses. And I know a fair few people who have these so called “orphan illnesses” and often it can take ten years or more, for them to even get close for a doctor to believe they do actually have a very physical problem, that in the end may very well kill them. There are at least 11 neurological illnesses which cannot be diagnosed until the patient , is on the autopsy table. How can one prove beyond a shadow of a doubt perhaps especially in the earlier stages of the desease that they are actually ill? And when there illness takes decline after decline and they are either not believed they are ill, or the medical community is not sure what is wrong with them, how can they then call a doctor to alleviate their suffering, if they don’t know what they are treating. This kind of scenario when the person is dealing with a life changing, often life threatening illness and yet feels all but abandoned of any real help and/or support, adds a burden that at times can seem unbearable, and life feels both worthless and not worth having. As mankind has many different elements to it. You can’t have physical illness without it not taking its toll on our mental/emotional/spiritual well-being. The same as emotional/mental stress or illness will often induce physical illness.

I had a doctor say to me just over a year ago, that medicine had come a long way, but it still had much further to go, and boy was he right in that. We can send men to the moon and have all kinds of technological advances in the treatment and diagnosis of most major deseases. Yet there is a section of the community, health wise, who have a much harder road to travel partially because the advancements in treatment and diagnosis, makes many doctors suspicous if any illness presents itself and it cannot be pin pointed to by these new methods.

Darwin, the evolutionist, was thought to be a hypercondriach when he was alive, he complained of feeling ill for years and years. Part of his symptoms were palpitations and sweats. At no time during his life did anyone admit he had this illness, or treat him for it. They thought it was in his head or perhaps a form of anxiety. Yet many years after his death, it was proved he was attacked by a parasitic infestation probably picked up when he was in algiers and it would have manifested exactly the symptoms he complained of during his life. King George III of England was thought totally insane, at a time when the insane often suffered abuse, and its only in the last few decades it was discovered he was suffering from Porphyria.

So, while I’m all for new discoveries in medicine and new methods of detection and treatment, I think its important to remember too that no science is perfect. And if man is on the planet another 10,000 years it is likely he will still not understand perfectly the make up and mechanisms in every minute detail of how the human body works, and how many ways it can go wrong, and yet not be detectible by the latest technology of the age.

Doctors by enlarge, do want to help people. As do most others within the medical community. Yet as technology advances, it often removes the human factor out of any given situation. And neither doctors nor there diagnostic techniques are infallible.

Years ago if you went to see your family doctor, you could have as much of his time as you needed, and it would be somewhat like going to see an old friend you were so familar with one another. Now its in and out, and doctors are under pressure to perform, which often means statistically, and the human touch by enlarge seems to be disappearing more and more.

Technology is great, I love it! But in its advancement, we need to remember to not by-pass the fact that human beings need compassion, the human, caring touch that one can’t get if one feels just like a statistic, or a piece of meat or when visiting a doctor its in and out, and you feel a little like one is on a production line. And people don’t need to be so dehumanzied as to have the validity of their illness cast doubt upon, by the findings of a mere piece of machinary. I sometimes wonder at what cost, and how high a price we pay in humanity, for the advancement of technology and science, which often removes real people with real responses and emotions out of the equation, and reduces us all to, a number, rather than the individuals we were created to be.

[written from a British Perspective]

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