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Asking Dr. Fox to Guard the Hen House

Is California asking Dr. Fox to guard the hen house?

I just saw an NPR Capital Radio article entitled, "California Is Giving Doctors Incentives To Ask Patients About Childhood Trauma," and I was shocked!

To me, it was like asking Dr. Fox to guard the hen house. I guess, that other than to me, it doesn't seem to make much sense. But here's my story—as it has been said—sad but true. And it serves the purpose of illustrating why doctors may be the absolute worst people to ask patients about childhood trauma. But more on this later.

When I was about seven years old, the government was giving Salk polio vaccine injections to school children. My parents had signed a consent slip and I was on line with the rest of my class to go into the cafeteria. Everyone was told to roll up their sleeve—I didn't know why. I didn't understand why I had to roll up my sleeve.

When I got to the front of the line and entered the room, I was soon called to the next station. Then I saw it. I looked like a horse-sized needle and the guy in the white coat was readying to stick it in me. Whoa. No. No. No. No sticking me with a horse size needle.

So, I bolted. Headed for the door. But before I got to the door, three guys in white coats grabbed me and dragged me to the floor, while the fourth stuck a needle into my body and ejected whatever was in the needle.

I felt violated, and for years whenever I got near anyone in a white coat—or a doctor in any outfit, my palms would get sweaty, my heart would race, and I would begin to shake.

Even today, when I reluctantly do go to a doctor I am, these symptoms return—and they tell me that I am sick with high blood pressure and need to go on medication. Of cause, when I take my own blood pressure it's never that high.

It seems to me that it's pretty obvious that it's bad "medicine" for the person doing the evaluation to be the same person to implement the treatment.

Let me ask three simple questions:

  1. are doctors trained to evaluate childhood
  2. aren't using doctors a very expensive way to
  3. and what if doctors are a cause of the childhood trauma?








Under most circumstances, if a person has childhood trauma wouldn't they go to a psychologist—a person who has specialized training in this field?

I guess that I ask if a similar rule should have doctors ask people if the drains in their house were clogged. Maybe that question should be asked—it could cause unsanitary conditions and many diseases have been spread by poor plumbing: ascariasis, cholera, hepatitis, polio, schistosomiasis and trachoma, to name just a few.

And let's look at the potential implementation of this program. I've noticed a similar program aimed at suicides. When I made one of my infrequent visits to a doctor, I was given a form that asked me if I had suicidal intentions. Come on. If I had suicidal intentions, would I announce write them on a survey form? You got to be kidding. God only knows what I'd be getting myself into. (I should write—I'd rather kill myself but these guys have no sense of humor.)

Here's something that is serious and worse. Guess what profession has the highest suicide rate—doctors! One per day according to WebMD. Read the referenced article for details. I couldn't find anything on "which profession has the highest rate of childhood trauma."

Do I know anything about childhood trauma? No. Just about nothing—except maybe that I hear that there are hundreds of kids being separated from their parents at our southern border.

I'm guessing that there will be a rising need for dealing with childhood trauma.

But I'm thinking prevention is a whole lot more effective than treatment and doctors are not out in the streets or screaming to their politicians about preventing these traumatic situations. Shucks, they don't even make house-calls anymore. They hardly know their patients.

And I wonder how many other people out there are like me—palms sweat, heart races, and they begin to shake when they see a doctor.

Is California asking Dr. Fox to guard the hen house?

~ Al Zagofsky










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