Sending home a patient without a diagnosis is not a crime !
Posted Dec 20 2008 7:17pm
One of the important principles of medicine is “Diagnosis should always precede treatment”
This quote , though appear reasonable , can not be practiced always especially in emergencies, where we have to first stabilise the patient without a prior diagnosis .(Like administering IV fluids in hypotension , acetaminophen for fever , etc)
Modern medicine considers treating a patient without a diagnosis as unscientific.
But, it is a well recognised fact , millions of decision in everyday medical practice is not based on scientific diagnosis but on clinical acumen and empirical therapy . There are many instances wherein , we are never near the diagnosis even after exhaustive investigations.
Ironically , in this era of evidence based medicine , when we are unable to conclude , we are forced to do the most funniest thing , namely converting patient’s symptom itself as disease entity and be happy in labelling them. Like , Motion sickness , poly-arthritis, , chronic fatigue syndrome, adult respiratory distress syndrome , pre mature ejaculation, fever of unknown origin , attention deficit disorder , etc (The list is endless . . .)
This happens because physicians always feel guilty if they are unable to label a patient with a disease entity.
Is the guilt justified ? Not necessarily so ! Symptomatic treatment without diagnosis is the most dominant theme even today (Fever, pain etc ).So don’t feel unduly negative* when one is not able to fit a patent’s symptom into a disease entity but ensure he gets relief from his symptom.
*Except of course , one has to rule out a serious disorder.