Victor Rodrigue: “In India I wish the doctors would share more information about the illness and treatment with the patients. Many times ignorance about the illness leads patients to quacks. Especially in case of RA which is incurable in allopathy, many Indians try alternative forms of medicine which only worsens their health. Allopathic doctors tend to withhold crucial info from the patients, leading patients to fall prey to false promises of the quacks.”

Mr. Victor Rodrigue, on my facebook page, has echoed immensely correct feelings about the incurability of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But about doctors not sharing more information with patients thus leading patients to try alternative medicine beyond allopathy, I have mixed feelings. My comments are as follows.

  1. Whenever I diagnose a disease condition like Rheumatoid Arthritis or any other rheumatological condition, I always make a point to hammer in the mind of the patient but politely, that disease is going to stay in most of the patients. But to allay the anxiety coming with the new knowledge of incurable disease I compare RA with other diseases like Diabetes and hypertension, and tell them that although it is incurable, but inflammation caused by it which is the cause of all symptoms and pain, and also the damage can be easily controlled and they can lead a comfortable life but there is a need of regular follow up you’re your Rheumatologist who a medical professional trained especially to treat this type of disease. I also emphasize that they are not alone in their struggle but millions of people around the world go through the same symptoms and pain. In many ways, it is like diabetes where you have to control the glucose level with the help of anti diabetic medicines and insulin and by regular monitoring by their doctor to avoid complications.
  2. I state facts in front of my patients and let them decide. My responsibility is to tell them the truth so that they do not fall prey tonquacks. I emphasize on the play of time, time is the greatest denominator in the development of deformity. If inflammation of the joints is not controlled adequately by ‘scientifically proved medicines’ at an early stage of the disease, it will lead to the irreversible joint damage.
  3. No therapy has been proved to be 100% curative so far, and it is better to remain under the umbrella of scientific rheumatological medicine prescribed and monitored by a rheumatologist than consume xyz chemicals that will only harm your system and increase damage.
  4. But I understand that it is also not that simple. People and their relatives have faith in different types of medical systems, cost of therapy is also a concern, so patients go to various systems of medicine to try to find an invisible cure, go from one system to another driven by hope generated by various agencies, sadly losing out on precious time. I’ll say this again. You have just one body, one life. Please take care of it and don’t experiment with life.
  5. The proven fact is, patients remaining under the care of a Rheumatologist do far better. Those not, go from one system to another losing precious time, continuously damaging their joints, and return to a Rheumatologist in a crippling state.
  6. Hence I say that my comments are mixed as even if doctors tell the patients nothing but the truth, patients go and try various systems in search of finding a cure, that give them false promises and hope. Generally, it is not a personal decision, it is a family decision. They also believe that if a doctor cannot cure your ailment permanently, the doctor is no good, let’s try another. I find this scenario  quite sad. It’s more like a moral dilemma for a lot of doctors I know.
  7. However I’d say that if a knowledgeable doctor, finds time to explain the disease and its dangers of not following modern medicines, the story may be different one.
  8. It is also my request to patients who have experienced the disease and understands various aspects of it to be social ambassadors and share their knowledge and understanding with others who are struggling to find the right path.
  9. I am always available to anybody who seeks my opinion to lessen their sufferings. I will always do my best within my limitations.

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