Questioning The Gatekeepers

I was reading the late Seth Robert’s blog today and he made a really interesting point about many healthcare professionals. Seth wrote a post that claimed ADHD Experts have a bad case of Gatekeeper Syndrome. He explained that people with Gatekeeper Syndrome dismiss or ignore any solution that does not involve them (or someone like them) being a gatekeeper and making money or controlling the situation in some fashion.

This hit home with me.

I had this skin condition a few years back that I couldn’t get rid of for the life of me. I tend to exhaust alternative options before going to the doctor if the condition isn’t too serious. I remember trying garlic pills, tea tree oil, new body wash, new deodorants, new lotions…nothing was doing the trick. So I went to the Dermatologist and took some prescription pills. No success. So I bounced around to a few different doctors hoping to find an answer.

I remember having an appointment one day and reading an article about Turmeric earlier regarding the benefits it may have with my skin condition, among other things. So during the visit, I asked the Dermatologist her opinion about trying this out. Not only was she clueless what Turmeric was, she totally dismissed it and told me not to touch it. Not exactly what I was hoping to hear. No curiosity. No open-mindedness.

I took the pills she prescribed and again they didn’t work. Long story short, I went through 3-4 different cycles of pills with little success. I ended up fixing it myself with some combination of a better diet (minimize sugar and carbs), probiotics, organic hemp body wash, and turmeric. An educated trial-and-error strategy at it’s finest.

Looking back on that experience, not one of the doctors mentioned anything about alternative treatments or additional options I can try. The best advice I got was to drink a soda with this pill they are giving me and then exercise afterwards. (I was actually just happy to hear how to make this pill I was about to take most effectively)

I think people are often better going with Google’s advice on certain minor conditions, as doctors are way too much by the book. And don’t get me wrong, that can be a good and bad thing. Healthcare professionals definitely have more knowledge, but that also comes with close-mindedness to other, often healthier, options. Second, doctors are trained to fix your problems immediately. I remember when my psychology teacher in college explained to our class the exact symptoms to tell your doctor to be prescribed Adderall. How crazy is that? Well, I guess not that crazy…as sales of Adderall XR and its generic equivalents totaled $1.99 billion in 12 months during 2012!

All of this comes back to what Seth mentioned with Gatekeeper Syndrome. Healthcare professionals will help fix your problem, as long as they (or their colleagues) are the ones doing it. There are no alternative options in Western doctor’s offices anymore. There is little-to-no prevention. Only short-term solutions.

Our society has tried to take control and standardize our processes (in the healthcare industry, schools, etc), and more problems continue to arise. The deeper we go, the more we stunt our creative problem solving and openness to alternative measures. That is why our society’s medicine advancement is so behind our technology advancement.

I just want to note – in no way is this an attack on doctors. I have had a few great doctors who continued their education and are relatively up-to-date with new studies and relevant information. But we must still identify the incentives the healthcare industry has when they treat us. I’ll let John Oliver help explain my point.

We get sick. They get paid.

We pay the consequences – money, health – if things go wrong. They have little downside if things don’t go as planned and we stay sick. Actually, that only means more upside for them.

That, in itself, is why we should at least question the Gatekeepers.