GENERAL PRACTICE

Would you believe me if I told you most ER and Urgent Care visits are inappropriate and that you would be better served waiting to see your family doc?  What, you don’t have a Family Doc? This article is designed to reinforce the idea that having a Family Doc is an essential element in keeping you healthy and that your first contact with the medical complex should be with your family doc.

Paul was in his early fifties when he died.  Today, he is well and lives an active life.  Paul’s heart stopped in his sleep.  His wife heard him die, started CPR and called the paramedics.  Paul was rushed to the ER where a neurologist pronounced him brain dead. I was notified and rushed to the ER to be with the family.  As their family doc, I was in a unique position to help them deal with the loss of their loved one.

I had recently read about the Artic Blank and its ability to save brain cells from dying during a cardiac arrest.  Luckily, the hospital had just received an Artic Blanket.  It was still in its original box. I explained that if he was brain dead, we had nothing to lose.  Having nothing to lose (actually, we could bring back a seriously damaged brain) and only potential benefit, we deployed the blanket and waited. The next day, Paul woke up and has done well since.

Had the ER not notified me, Paul might still be dead.  Had Paul not had a family doc who knew the family structure as well as I did, things might have been different.  Had Paul’s family been used to going to the urgent care center, I would have never gotten to know them. Find yourself a family doc and get to know him/her. Include them in your health decisions.  Finding a family doc is not easy.  You may need to try a few.  PS:  don’t forget to thank them for their care.  These days, the docs who practiced like me are retiring.  The new MDs are trained in corporate medicine.  Generalists like family docs and internists will never see the inside of a hospital.  Hospitalists will see you in the ER and hospital.  Knowing your physician and developing rapport is not going to be easy.  I’m in the

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