"The Real Dr. House" article is available in its entirety on the Discover Magazine website. Send comments to RealDoctorHouse@boltemedical.com
From: Elizabeth Lu of Canada
To: email@example.com Sent: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 8:53 pm
Subject: Hi, this isn't trash e-mail...you can read if you want.
Um well this isn' t really a suggestion. And I live super far from your office let alone NYC. As you can tell, I' m not an adult. I' m 15 years old and I'm from Canada. I' m not going to ask you about diagnosis and such because that would be a rip-off of your money, right? Anyways, I bought a couple of science magazines and one of them said Medical Mysteries. I think it was a Discovery magazine. Well anyways, it was on how you find mystery diagnosis of patience. And it talks about how you ask lots of questions, more than the average doctor. Well I finished the article and I thought I would ask my mom a few questions. Not about her illness, but how much time her and her doctor would talk. Turns out they just& how do you say this. Like a breeze gives her pain-killers? Then one doctor said it was arthiritis. She told me they don't ask a lot of questions and I feel she and any patient has the obligation to tell the doctor what's up. But the doctors themselves don't ask all the questions that's needed. Anyways, I just wanted to ask you how I should (or she should) get any doctor to ask questions. And not just zoom through the appointment like the patient doesn't matter. It does get annoying sometimes when she complains about her pains but I'm worried. I actually suggested we to fly to NYC to try you. But she said the price was a little iffy. I thought it was a good price considering USA doesn't have the same medical as Canada. I just thought is was a good suggestion. Um well if you read this stupid e-mail and can find the time to reply, it'd be awesome! Sorry to bother you. Please reply to (e-mail) Thanks.
Doctor Bolte's response:
I appreciate and thank you for your interesting letter. It's important for the youth of today to realize they will be faced with a health problem which is growing around the globe, i.e., decreasing quality of health care delivery despite rising health care costs. Your e-mail is the first I've received from outside America, and that's exciting to me. I'm impressed by your level of concern so early in your life.
There are a lot of ways to change the medical system, so that a patient can spend more time with the doctor. I discuss it on my personal webpage http://boltemedical.com/Doctor_Thomas_Bolte_MD.htm , which I update regularly. I'm also working on a book about the subject. The type of comprehensive integrated "medical detective" medicine which I practice often requires extensive amounts of time to acertain the cause of the symptoms involved. Urgent care medicine takes much less time, and usually a patient seeking "quick-fix" medicine wants to leave the doctor's ASAP.
The letters and e-mails I am receiving are revealing a large number of people who suffer from symptoms which significantly compromise their quality of life, despite numerous doctor visits and multiple tests being done. Every time a person gets a CT scan of the abdomen, they are exposing themselves to the equivalent of about 100 chest x-rays of radiation. It concerns me that most doctors (and patients) are not aware of this, and many other similar facts in medical care.
My medical practice is unique. Most of all, it's a working model which drew attention to itself due to its success, particularly in solving the most difficult cases, when other major medical models such as university hospitals and clinics could not. And my model is so much more cost-effective as well. That's a big feather in my cap which I'm very proud of. Listening to a patient has to do with the spiritual side of medicine. Performing a CT scan has to do with the material or instinctual side of it. We need both.
Listening to a patient is not only more cost effective than a CT scan, but also, more powerful a diagnostic tool. I'm not completely sure why this particular baby was thrown out with the bathwater, or why physicians as a group decided it was not important to keep in our doctor's bags, as did the physicians and other healers of the past.
I'm flattered that you applied my principles on your mom. Discussions between humans are so important, not only in the doctor's office, but also at home, and with friends. It's what keeps the mind from wandering, and making inappropriate assumptions, and hence, inappropriate decisions. Major changes in our health care delivery system will occur in the not-too-distant future, because we can't afford not to. Spreading the word will make it happen more quickly. So it's not a matter of "if:" It's a matter of "when."
Thanks for your inspiring letter, Warm regards, Dr Thomas Bolte