I sometimes get the feeling that people may be a little reluctant or even scared to go and see a GP or visit their local emergency department.
I can understand this, particularly based on some of the comments I get about poor bedside manner, wrong diagnosis, lack of time and interest, and ineffective treatments, however, there are definitely situations where it is appropriate and in fact necessary.
These days “integrative medicine” is becoming a very familiar term and some of my clients are fortunate to see GPs who work in such multi-disciplinary practices. These GPs are usually much more open to complementary therapies such as homeopathy and may even use some of these therapies themselves.
From my long experience I find the statement “no man is an island” to be quite appropriate in relation to patients’ choices in healthcare, although perhaps that should be “no therapy is an island”. While many of my patients use a range of therapies as part of their healthcare package, often seeing several practitioners – and this might include medical specialists and GPs – some people want to totally avoid any interaction with mainstream medicine and rely on their chosen complementary healthcare practitioners for everything.
As a practitioner, while this is flattering, it can raise something of a dilemma, as well as ethical issues, if a patient presents with symptoms that require a diagnosis via tools which are only available through mainstream medicine. I don’t know that I’ve ever lost a patient for suggesting they visit their GP or get a referral to a specialist, but I do sometimes get the feeling this may be an issue.
While complementary healthcare practitioners undertake extensive training in medical sciences and long experience in practice will make me prick my ears up at certain symptom pictures, the only sure way of knowing if a hunch is correct is to get the guys with the gear to do some tests!
I had a case some while back where a family had wanted to avoid medical intervention for their child and so had not had the child’s condition assessed until it was way too late, choosing to use a range of natural therapies despite symptoms not improving. By the time the child arrived in my clinic, and I suggested that the child needed to see a GP at the least, the condition had become chronic, potentially life threatening and surgery was required, a situation which may have been avoided had the parents made the appointment much sooner.
Just because I send a patient off to see their GP, I am not saying they have to take the medication they may potentially be prescribed. This is a matter between patient and GP and obviously a personal choice, bearing in mind the duty of care involved if we are talking about a child. Usually if I do send a patient to their GP it’s because I have some concerns that need delving into.
Having a diagnosis can also be helpful at times in choosing therapeutic remedies to work alongside constitutional treatment, although it doesn’t usually change my main remedy choice and I am cautious in cases which have had multiple diagnoses over time.
Some patients tell me that they go to their GP and advise that they are trying other things and don’t want to try the medicines just yet. Some GPs are very understanding and supportive of the choices these patients make and I would like to think that any advice given by a GP would be professional and objective, rather than based on the “you must do it because I say so” mentality that we sometimes hear of.
As a healthcare provider I always have my patients’ best interests at heart, so if I, or any of your other healthcare practitioners, suggest a visit to your GP, do understand that it is because we could probably benefits from a little more in-depth information about a condition and we all need to work together for the best outcomes.
If we are talking about a child, and even more so if we are consulting at a distance, we all – parents and practitioners – have a legal of duty of care to this child and it is important we all recognise this and make sure we do the best we can and in a timely fashion.
All healthcare providers are bound by a code of professional ethics and conduct and a duty of care and sometimes we have to suggest things which may be unpopular, but could be lifesaving.
Melanie Creedy is a UK trained and Australian Registered Homeopath (AROH). She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association for 2011 to 2015 and is currently AHA Newsletter editor.
Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australian, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.