11.08.2009

Say what?! Keep wishing, it's not quite Christmas yet

OHHhhh hohoho. Christmas didn't come early, nope. Though I might be in the southern hemisphere where things are supposedly the opposite of normal and where the toilet flushes counterclockwise, it doesn't mean that Christmas gets to come early for chiropractors. It's weird enough to spend Christmas at the beach with the sun searing nice burns into your skin.

Sydney Morning Herald's "Emergency Department Turf War" was an eye-opener. I've depended on a chiropractor for a couple of years in the past, even following her to her new practice but stopped when I realized that I could crack my own back to achieve the same results with less frightening and sudden twists of my spine and neck. Suddenly, the $60 a pop (and that was a discount for being a long-time customer with weekly appointments that later degenerated to monthly appointments) seemed a tad too much and I stopped going.

"If chiropractic was [an] emergency treatment option, we could avoid thousands of patients being admitted" the chief of the NSW arm of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia was quoted as saying by the SMH. Goodness, where do I start?! I know the media is infamous for taking things out of context so I'm taking everything with large helpings of salt, but geez they did a good job this time around. Chiropractic practices has no place in the emergency department - I completely agree with several of the doctors quoted later on in the article.

First of all, how the hell is back pain amenable to chiropractic therapy life-threatening? Isn't that the whole point of the emergency department? For people with life-threatening conditions, ie an ee-mer-jen-see? Don't get me started. I'm the one that's always going on about implementing a public education campaign to educate people as to what an emergency is. That guy that collapsed on the street is an emergency. So's that woman with a river of blood pouring out from her netherbits. The graze you got while snorkling yesterday that's still painful is not an emergency. You broke skin. IT WILL HURT. Insomnia is not an emergency. It's an unfortunate inconvinience that you can see your GP about. The ED is not a 24h pharmacy, and the will not dispense drugs as you demand. Your cucumber up your ass is just plain hilarious and if you're able to walk in, it's not an emergency but we'll help you get it out eventually.

Also, tell me - if chiropractors were so beneficial, shouldn't all those people whom they're targeting at the ED... shouldn't they all have been seen in the community by a chiropractor as more of a preventative measure in nipping the pain before it got too debilitating? That being said, I would really like someone to explain to me how back pain warrants a trip to the ED when it's been grumbling along. Sure, when one's immobilized by the pain and requires analgesia only obtainable in a hospital setting.. sure, come on through. For the rest of you who refuse to take your pain medications and show up to ED a week later with back pain so bad you can't get out of bed.. TAKE YOUR FREAKING PAINKILLERS and then we'll talk.

Forget the oodles of studies disproving the efficacy of chiropractic therapy. Forget the fact that chiropractors as poo-pooed by the medical community as a whole. Really, forget all of that. Just concentrate on what they're currently proposing. Imagine your local emergency department.. yes, the one that looks (and sometimes smells like) an asian wet local market at times with the hours of waiting you need to do just to get seen by a nurse, let alone a doctor. Now imagine a section of that ED cordoned off with curtains drawn and massage oil in place next to the Aquim gel with patients being wheeled in, bed by bed, for their chiropractic treatment and seeing them walk out one by one. Seriously, if you were the patient in the next bed who had come in for acute abdominal pain because of gallstones, would you want your nurse pre-occupied with wheeling the next patients in and out of the chiropractic booth while you writhe in pain because she was too busy to give you that morphine the doctor charted up 3 hours ago? And also, why would the chiropractors need to take up already precious and scarce resources from the ED budget when they could very well run their own "emergency department" for people with back pain on a walk-in basis. Really. Christmas isn't coming early for you this year, go try to mooch off another system. hmph.

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