YES, I trust America’s doctors and nurses. Call me crazy.
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YES, I trust America’s doctors and nurses. Call me crazy.

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Written by Mary Katherine

Another day, another headline from a click-bait news source.

I had a hard time scrolling past this one, even though I knew better–but the article caught my eye. It was a heart-wrenching account of childbirth gone wrong–and the heartless doctor who was to blame. Attorneys and family members painted a pretty damning picture, so I wasn’t surprised when it was revealed that a lawsuit was pending. When a baby dies, somebody has to pay.

Scrolling through the comments section I felt my blood pressure rise. Strangers were sharing bizarre (and unlikely) personal stories, emotions were getting all wacky, and the trolls were flocking in. I knew I was dipping my toe into the wild waters of a keyboard brawl, so I did what any reasonable person would do: I closed the tab and moved on to the next random cat video on my newsfeed.

….Just kidding. Of course I had to comment.

I wrote about the state of our health care system and the laws that are suffocating providers. I wrote about my own fears of childbirth, and the complications that could arise when I deliver our daughter this February. I mentioned my family members who are nurses and doctors, working the thankless frontlines of our nation’s healthcare system, under the constant-threat of malpractice lawsuits.

And then I realized, for the 100-zillionth time, that I am not changing the world in the comments section of Yahoo Parenting.

I clicked the little “x” that closed the article, and instantly the drama disappeared from my screen. It felt better for a minute. No more witch-hunt, no more torches ready to take the evil hospital out of this world. But this time I couldn’t shake my anger. Because I know that tomorrow there will be another headline. And another. And another.

And I can’t help but wonder how healthcare workers must feel about the fact that our media constantly demonizes them.

The physicians who dedicate their entire youth to rigorous education and exhausting residencies. The nurses who spend their days in the blood, urine, and transmittable diseases of the general public, and still manage to offer smiles while changing a bedpan…these are the people our media keeps marching to the stake.

..why?

There are a million different reasons that people lose trust in our healthcare system. Bad experiences, high bills, long wait times, even missed diagnoses. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I’m talking about are headlines that blame doctors for a patient’s death, when the physicians can’t breathe a word to defend themselves because of HIPPA. What I’m talking about are HUGE billboards that prey on families whose loved ones died of imminent stroke risk: “Was your loved one taking this drug? Call today!” What I’m talking about are Hollywood fluff-heads being interviewed as credible medical experts on issues as serious as vaccines and public health.

What I’m talking about is a systematic dismantling of trust in the only professionals qualified to help us.

I can’t speak as an expert on many of these dynamics, because the truth is I’m just a mom. Just a blogger who waxes nostalgic over baby’s first words, and rails against the playground bullies down the street. But there is an element to this rampant distrust that I am highly familiar with. Because as a mom, I see it every day.

My two-year old does not understand that there is injustice in the world, and he certainly doesn’t conceive of his own mortality. He lives a happily oblivious life, bouncing from one entertaining activity to the next, until something unpleasant prevents him from moving forward. Sometimes that unpleasantry is a time-out, sometimes it’s a boo-boo. Sometimes it’s a parent-enforced naptime. When Nugget’s world is disrupted with an unexpectedly harsh reality, he instantly looks for someone to blame:

That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works! Who is to blame here? 

I believe that we, as a society, have a spiritual and emotional immaturity when it comes to disease and death. It causes us to lash out when things don’t go as planned. We are overly-confident and believe that life should come to us, and it should come easily. We sure as crap don’t like to consider things like mortality.

So when babies die in childbirth, when cancer goes undetected, when a family member receives a nasty diagnosis…people get offended. They get angry. And they look for someone to blame.

You better believe that websites know this when they publish inflammatory stories. They expect your rage and clicks to drive their advertising dollars through the roof. You better believe that there are predatory law firms who know this. They rely on your grief and anger to pay their overhead with frivilous lawsuits. You better believe that there are snake-oil salesmen who know this. They count on the collective distrust of healthcare experts to drive desperate business through their doors.

It’s this blame game that has our country in such a bind.

Healthcare workers are human. They are fallible. There is a place for malpractice and I will not deny that there are bad clinical outcomes which are wholly preventable. Like any profession, there are a percentage of bad apples in the bunch. But what I’m not willing to do is buy into this wholesale distrust of all things healthcare.

If, while I’m bringing my daughter into this world, my doctor strongly advises a c-section, I will trust her. I won’t be happy about it, but I’ll be happy she’s there.

If my son’s nurse walks into the room and encourages a life-protecting vaccine, he will take it. He won’t be happy about it, but we’ll be thankful it’s available.

Yes, I choose to trust the actual experts when it comes to the health of my family. I choose to believe that the bright minds in faded scrubs have our best interests at heart. Regardless of the internet noise and fear-mongering billboards, I choose to trust America’s nurses and doctors.

Call me crazy.

 

 

 

73 comments

  1. Morgan Kearley
    Reply

    I’m so glad you posted this!

  2. Stephanie Webb
    Reply

    I trust, but never 100% anymore. Too many docs who acted like God and were clueless. Like actual how does this person still have a practice?? So, I usually trust. But I also research the hell out of the doc and the situation to be sure I am getting the best care. I agree, the hysteria over “all medical professionals are idiots” drives me batshit crazy as well.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      My husband is a physician and he says “blind trust is crazy”. Like you said–research your doctor! Find a competent, reputable healthcare provider, and THEN place your trust in the expert. Wisdom and discernment go a long way. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Alison Tedford
    Reply

    I trust the folks I’ve researched until they show me otherwise. I’ve had some really bad doctors, but I’ve also had some really good ones. YMMV, like anything. When I see fear mongering about anything I follow the money. Fear mongering about big pharma? Who’s questioning big supplement? Fear mongering about the medical professions? Who’s questioning naturopathy?

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      There’s money to be had from every party that’s out there vocalizing, for sure. I’ve also had my share of sketchy practitioners, but as a whole, when I need medical treatment…I tend to be trusting.

  4. Megan Easterly Barnett
    Reply

    YES!! Count me in the camp of crazies! We are SO BLESSED by countless in healthcare! Of course patients should use common sense but also should respect the experience of the expert.

  5. April Hollis Thomas
    Reply

    Ah, yes and no. There are some providers I trust much more than others, but once you’ve been burned you learn they are only human… and some of them aren’t very nice humans. I have a child with special needs and so I’ve learned that to many we are just another number and they don’t always know what’s best for us. They think they have all the answers, but sometimes they’re not willing to listen to the questions before giving them. My son started failing high risk testing around 32 weeks which went on for 2 more weeks despite my concerns and my hopes that they would listen to me and HIM and take him early. They ignored my pleas and my insistence that we had decreased fetal movement. He continued to decline and was born by emergency c section at almost 35 weeks. We found out two days later he had massive brain bleeds in utero. He was born with every sign pointing to the fact that his oxygen supply was diminishing in the womb. Though I will never know it’s hard not to picture the life he would have been spared had my OB followed standard of care and delivered him the first, second, third, or even fourth time he failed a BPP. It’s hard to trust after that. My husband is in health care too and we are surrounded my friends and family in it too… so I get that there are still good people, but I don’t think it’s always a bad thing to not 100% trust.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      Firstly, I’m so sorry about your delivery. I can’t imagine being in that position. I actually think you and I may agree more than you expect. I don’t blindly trust anyone, but after vetting my providers with due diligence, I feel it is necessary to rely on their expertise. Aside from my gut instincts, I don’t have the knowledge to help myself in medical situations.

      I understand your difficulty in trusting, especially given your unique circumstances. Keep advocating for your child, and keep trying to find the right team of practitioners to support his health. I appreciate hearing from mamas like you, because it helps me understand the “other side” of the fence a little better.

      Big hugs. Thanks for commenting with kindness and sharing your story. ❤️

    • April Hollis Thomas
      Reply

      You’re welcome. And thank you for your kind words. Your original post didn’t offend me at all, I just wanted to share something from this side. And I probably sound more jaded than I am truly am haha. Given our circumstances we have to rely on our doctors to a certain extent and I am thankful for most of them… I just find it much easier when they seem to value our opinion or admit sometimes they don’t know the right thing for our son. Before this was our life I did have blind faith and I beat myself up for that a lot because I wish I had demanded a different Doctor be brought on to our case…. but I trusted my OB to a fault. You live, you learn.

  6. Glynis Ratcliffe
    Reply

    Well said. Even as a believer in alternative medicine, I hold my GP, psychiatrist and all the specialists we have seen over the years in high esteem. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect, and it doesn’t mean I won’t look for second opinions sometimes, but they’re trying to help us.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      Most physicians I know will at least consider integrating a patient’s beliefs or preferences into an evidence-based treatment plan. But like you said, even if you don’t prefer traditional medicine, this distrust is over the top.

  7. Jennifer Caraballo
    Reply

    I trust my doctors too – if I don’t, then I get a new one. And I have done that a couple of times.

  8. theheartofsassylassie
    Reply

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that doctors and nurses are expected to work ridiculous hours often resulting in critical decisions being made while sleep-deprived and under extreme duress. I’ve had nurses come in trying to give me insulin injections when I’m not diabetic! I question every single needle that goes in my arm, I need to SEE what is prescribed on that IV bag before it’s going into my body and I need to know WHY from my doctor, why I am being prescribed this medication. Then, I research it and decide for myself. I also agree that unsrupulous lawyers are waiting in the wings after stirring up yet another hornets nest of side effects we or one of our loved ones has no doubt suffered due to being prescribed this medication or that or having this medical procedure or that. I have to say, having spent much of my life in and out of hospitals due to renal failure and the long and winding road to two transplants, my distrust comes from doctors who refuse to consider any medical treatment other than what they’ve been taught by western medical institutions. It’s no secret that BIg Pharma and the FDA are corrupt as are many, certainly not all, doctors in this country. They recieve huge kickbacks for prescribing certain medical and surgical procedures as well as prescription drugs. If you are lucky enough to find a doctor with whom you can place complete and total trust, consider yourself lucky and I mean that sincerely. Me? No way. I listen to what my doctors (usually western trained as I only have Medicare which isn’t very flexible when it comes to covering what they consider “alternative” medicine and treatments) have to say and then launch off doing hours of research on alternate treatments and procedures. In the late 1800’s, the Rockefellers and Carnegies banded together to do away with homeopathy, chiropractry, naturopathy, holistic medicine and even herbal medicine, all of which thrived back then, considering them competition to ‘western’ medical schools that they, of course, built and funded, even getting legistlation passed whereby only the AMA could grant medical licenses. Gasp. I could go on and on but won’t. Suffice it to say, western medicine teaches doctors to treat symptoms, Big Pharma and our government WANT us sick, there’s huge money in it. Money garnered by patents. Alternative medicine, natural medicine which is comprised of natural ingredients, canot be patented. Since there is no money in it, Big Pharma, the AMA and FDA and many other agencies do all they can to keep it unaffordable, uncovered and under wraps. Cancer is their biggest money maker yet there are many, many cures for different cancers and none of them have to do with presecription medications. I’m in no way saying that these alternative physicians will not prescribe life-saving antibiotics or even chemo if it is necessary but it isn’t always the ONLY path to walk down. I have a great mistrust of doctors, not because I think they are ‘out to get me’ or that they aren’t good and dedicated people, it’s because of what and how they were taught and the fact they are actually taught to be unopen to alternatives aka ‘quakery’. The truth is slowly rising to the surface and people are beginnng to question their treatment plans, their medications, and why there has to be a five minute side-effect warning given on a one minute commercial for a drug that will supposedly ‘really help us feel so much bettert’. The writing/listening is on the wall. Sorry, my rant is probably almost as long as your piece. Doctors and nurses are good people, it takes true dedication to endure all they do. My contention is with what they are taught because in many cases, they are being taught to ‘do harm’ and even they don’t realize it.

    PS I<3U

  9. Annette Henriquez
    Reply

    Do I generally trust medical professionals? Yes, but I still recognize that obstetrical violence and malpractice exists and it is frighteningly common. I was coerced into an induction that brought on a cascade of interventions. They saved me from themselves. I was 41 weeks and two days (low risk and NOT in labor) and was held basically against my will in the hospital for an induction. I was explicitly told that insurance would not pay for my delivery if I left against medical advice at that time. All of it was a lie to get me to stay for their convenience. Of course insurance would pay for my delivery! My record from my hospital stay also stated that I elected for an induction! Lies again. I was also denied water and food for close to 36 hours during my labor. I will never forget how I was treated. I was bullied by those that I implicitly trusted.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      I had a bad experience with my first delivery. Outright didn’t like my obgyn and felt like she was a bully. I wish I had a different doctor, but I still wanted a doctor. I wish I had a different experience, but I still will deliver with an obgyn and nurses next time. I guess that’s my point. I acknowledge that there are bad apples in the bunch, but I do not believe they are the majority.

      Also, as I am intimately acquainted with the politics of obstetrics (family members who practice) I also know that many times they are trying to practice medicine, keep hospital administrators happy, and stay within guidelines that prevent lawsuit vulnerability. I believe that is a major problem that impacts the choices physicians would otherwise make in a less threatening environment.

      I am so sorry for your delivery experience. I hope and pray that if there is a second time, you have a healthful and less traumatic experience.

      Thank you for your comment and honesty. It’s truly appreciated ❤️

  10. Chel Iy
    Reply

    What ppl fail to realize is correlation does not equal causation. #teamvaccination

  11. Karen Mares
    Reply

    Absolutely. I’m so glad you posted this too.

  12. Sarah Bregel
    Reply

    I’m not sure if this is a response to my recent fitpreg post or a similar post, but either way, totally respect your opinion. In fact, I’m glad people are having good experiences with their care providers. But I also think, we have to examine the way so many women are saying they are being treated. It’s great to find doctors we trust. But the experts are also telling us a different story, that our maternity mortality rate in the US is shockingly awful compared to other countries, that our CS numbers are high above healthy ranges for moms and babies, throw in the obstetric violence that’s being reported left and right and it’s no wonder so many women are having difficulty finding providers they trust. We can’t deny there is a problem when so many of us are hurting, dealing with trauma, or dying because of poor choices in maternity care.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      I’m not sure where you write, but this is not a response to anybody’s recent blog. This is a post that originated with a frustration I felt today while reading four headlines that specifically demonized healthcare workers without providing any evidence to indicate the allegations were valid. I also am aware of the poor maternal statistics American hospitals report, and I believe those are directly related to the higher incidents of diabetes, morbid obesity, and other complicating factors in the demographics those statistics represent. Our country’s healthcare is in crisis because OUR COUNTRY’S HEALTH is in crisis. I will also say that the term “obstetric violence” is strangely off to me, as someone who experienced a sexual assault. You will never hear “orthopedic violence” or “colorectal violence”. That term was coined, in my opinion, to evoke feelings of sexual assault. Do you honestly believe doctors are maliciously assaulting women’s vaginas? Because my word, that is quite the allegation.

    • Sarah Bregel
      Reply

      Im not trying to maje assumptions, it seemed very much like a direct response. I’ve also written for you all before… Anyway. A quick visit to improvingbirth.org, or other maternity advocacy groups, to read women’s stories of abuse and coercion during childbirth, and it seems a very fitting term. When women are pleading while in labor to have care that is evidence-based practiced on them and are threatened, or denied their rights, yes, it absolutely is abuse. Ive sat in trauma groups with women, heard them describe what was done to their bodies, procedures that went against evidence, I’ve been there myself. To tell women, no, it didn’t happen that way, it’s not true, it’s not abuse, is wrong on every level.

    • Sarah Bregel
      Reply

      Women aren’t lining up for birth trauma groups for kicks. Yes, this abuse exists. Please, don’t tell women who have been there and fought there way back that they have no right to feel that.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      To be clear, I haven’t read your article. It was nowhere on my radar, but I’ll be happy to skip over and check it out. I am not being rude, but there was an editor here for over a year who accepted outside submissions, so if you wrote for us, thank you. I just don’t know all of our former writers by name. If you actually advocate for evidence-based medicine, then you and I have very much in common. I will never tell a woman who feels abused that her feelings are invalid, but abuse is a criminal term, and that is the point I am trying to make. You are making a criminal allegation against someone when you use terms like “violence” and “abuse”. I take those terms very seriously, like I said, as I am a victim of abuse and have advocated for many years for women and children who experienced similar situations. I was a state-certified CASA (court appointed special advocate), and have literally been involved at a legal level in more than fifty of those cases. I will always be an advocate for the abused, and in that vein, I will always feel that every person is due their day in court when allegations of violence are levvied against them.

    • Sarah Bregel
      Reply

      Sorry but the use of quotes around “abuse” is killin me here… Before you deny that any woman was abused, listen to their stories. They are not hard to find.

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      The quotations were grammatically appropriate. I was specifying words used in a sentence. I wasn’t trying to be snarky. I went to your page, and am actually very familiar with your writing and your blog. I enjoy it. I think that probably in this case, both of our emotions that come from different experiences are keeping us from seeing the common ground we share. I appreciate your work with abused women, and I’ll leave it at that. Thank you, sincerely, for stopping by and leaving a comment. It’s important to me that my page remain a place where honest conversation is encouraged. I don’t ever want to be the person who squashes intelligent discourse. I appreciate your feedback, and am glad you shared your heart with me.

    • Sarah Bregel
      Reply

      thanks, mama. agree all the way.

  13. Amy Blakemore
    Reply

    Thank you for writing this from the bottom of my nursey heart. I could write a dissertation on what’s wrong with health care from my point of view on “this side of the bed,” but we are, as you mentioned, bound by privacy laws (as we should be), and employers monitor social media. But please know that the vast majority of us only want to help. We do what we do because we care, not because it’s glamorous or easy. Chances are, in my arena (the emergency department), I’m going to be seeing you on one of your worst days. My job is to fix it if I can, or help you through it if I can’t. Nursing is more than what I do, it’s what I am. It’s part of my make up. And the day I have nothing more to learn, or I think I have it all down pat is the day I hang up my stethoscope and call it done.

  14. AaronandKatie Puckett
    Reply

    Thank you! I never understand how people can truly think Internet research is better than the medical research we’ve spent millions of dollars, years, education, etc etc on.

    • Chel Iy
      Reply

      People are very passionate about this topic. My belief is we all do what’s best for our children given our knowledge base. I won’t call you an idiot for not vaccinating your kids (although I think you are) and you shouldn’t call me an idiot for vaccinating mine (although you think I am).

    • Chad Huett
      Reply

      I’m sorry you feel I’m an idiot. My wife and I are educated. We trusted until we almost lost our first and then third to adverse reactions. Good luck with your herd.

    • Chel Iy
      Reply

      Hey buddy Chad . I feel like you want a fight or at the very least a little back and forth. The thing is I’m really not interested as evidenced by my comment above that stated we all believe we do what’s best for our children despite thinking ppl with opposing views are idiots. So I already confirmed you think I’m an idiot. And that’s fine with me. I will ignore your jab, categorizing my two babies as a “herd” because… Well. You just have a good night sir. (Edited because my reading comprehension sometimes goes on vacation late at night.)

    • Mom Babble
      Reply

      Thankfully, he hasn’t lost a child. He felt that his child was at risk of dying, though, and so I’m out of this convo for sure. I don’t argue with people’s emotional first hand accounts, and I do know there are small risks of adverse effects. My herd will continue getting their shots, and like I stated earlier, I support a parents right to choose otherwise.

      I’m so tired tonight it is crazy. Goodnight, y’all.

    • Chad Huett
      Reply

      Chel ly, you said you thought I was an idiot. That is why I replied. Then I wished you luck. I don’t think you are an idiot. I was actually trying to make a joke because provaxxer a are all about herd immunity.

    • Chad Huett
      Reply

      Mom babble, I ended up seeing your post because a friend of mine commented on here. I am glad you support a parent’s right to choose. Unfortunately there is a Congressional bill they are working on to force mandatory vaccinations across the nation. It has entered the House of Representatives under the name “Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015” or HR 2232.

  15. Blair Armstrong-Yaroch
    Reply

    Great post MK! Couldn’t agree more actually. Tricky topic to tackle but an important one.

  16. Haley Watkins
    Reply

    I can’t even get sucked into the commend on this one… But so many great points. Thanks! (I question why I chose to be a nurse. Specifically working in NICU/OB.)

  17. Stacey Waltzer
    Reply

    I am so thankful for some doctors where I live that have gone above and beyond for me. I wish that experience for everyone. You raise many good points. It is sad when it becomes a witch hunt and people are not privy to the entire story.

  18. Perfection Pending
    Reply

    The system is broken. Even my husband who went to graduate school to become a Physician Assistant believes that. His friends who are doctors believe that it’s broken. But, they are doing the best they can with what they have. Most of the time. I do believe however that there are pompous jerks in healthcare too that think they know better than the mom in the delivery room when maybe they don’t. It’s a tricky subject, but I agree with you that for the most part, it’s best to trust the professionals, but I think that has to be done while not being afraid to question things if your gut is telling you something else. After all, if they are just people, and are fallible, then we should absolutely be questioning them when our gut is telling us the opposite. I had doctors telling me that there was nothing wrong with my 6yo when he was a baby even though I KNEW his symptoms were not “normal”. I was right, and I had to work hard to find a doctor that agreed with me. Like all things in life, it’s a balance of trust because they have the schooling, and listening to your mama gut. 🙂 xx

    • MomBabble
      Reply

      Thank you for commenting! I definitely don’t believe in “blind trust”…neither does my hubs. But I do believe that after vetting the praciticioners you choose, it is best to defer to their judgement when a diagnosis and treatment plan is offered. That being said, there is nothing but good that can come from a second opinion!

  19. Cassie
    Reply

    Thank you for this! I am a nurse and I have worked in labor and delivery in the past and often times doctors will do things just because they are afraid of being sued, they go the safe route. I am currently a pediatric nurse and it is scary to think that if you do one little thing wrong a parent will come after you. It is nice to know that there are people who don’t believe the headlines because like you said, often times those are one sided stories and the “news” sites post them just to drive up traffic. Thanks again!

    • MomBabble
      Reply

      Hey! I appreciate you stopping by to comment on the actual website. It feels like getting real life snail mail 🙂 I agree with you completely that those articles are one sided. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of medical malpractice articles when HIPPA prevents the providers from offering insight into the crisis that evolved. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, again. I really enjoy hearing from you!

  20. Mommy, RN
    Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you! First off, I have to say I am glad there are still people out there who do trust the nurses and doctors. I am a nurse and I love my job, but so many people trust Google, or a friend, or a friends uncles grandmothers friend, over the nurses and doctors who have been educated. Second, I agree that I will trust my doctors. I may have a little more education than others, so I can make a more informed decision, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take my doctor’s advice in the process. Thanks again!

  21. Bonnie Guy
    Reply

    I just can’t imagine how painful it must be for a doctor to do everything in their power to save someone and fail, then be accused of causing that death… I have faith in our medical practitioners, great article!

  22. Diana Zarzeka Cihlar
    Reply

    I love that you posted this. Both my mom and husband are physicians and their patients can be so disrespectful. They didn’t go through all that schooling and training for nothing. They truly know what they are talking about!

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