Monday 22 June 2009

Complementary Therapy

I work as a psychiatrist. Having trained as a GP and delivering all liaison psychiatry, I've a bent towards folk presenting with physical comorbidity. In my patch if you're physically unwell and have mental health problems, it's common that someone refers you to my door, or invites me to a case conference to throw in my 2p worth.

It was at just such a fortnightly meeting at the local district general hospital that I was delighted by the succinct, acerbic quip 'bout local independent practitioners.

A young lady had long term back pain, with a degree of sacroiliac and hip pain. Practical treatment had been of some benefit, but the crunch was that she'd knackered joints and a frenetic lifestyle/busy family so couldn't pace herself at a comfortable level. She'd seen a someone about her back between appointments (a chiropracter) who I'd not known, so when the Consultant was describing her care over the last month and mentioned this name, and I asked who this clinician was, it was with great candor that a physio chirped up, "Oh, he's the local quack. Rub you anywhere if you cross his palm with silver."
The lady was no better from seeing him. Apparently, few folk ever are. Ho hum.

The very next patient had problems after a below knee amputation after trauma. Again, discussion on practical and psychosocial and pharmacological management of his care. Young bloke, bad motor bike accident, loss of job and self esteem and social life, not doing too well. He'd also seen someone to help him, an osteopath to, "get him moving again" and sort out, "back spasm" that was, "stopping him walking." The name of the osteopath was not known to me. I asked who he was. It went quiet as medical collegaues tried to think how to frame it, but a physio who knew him well interjected helpfully that he was, "A charlatan."

Clarity of information, I love it. One of the perks of working in old pit villages, people call a spade a spade. As one old man said to me today, when I was asking about diagnosis and how much he sought to know of his dementia, "Tell it like it is, lad. Just tell it like it is." Complementary therapy better deliver meaningful outcomes, because if it doesn't, local folk sure get the measure of it pretty sharpish. And to date, results in my corner are woefully shabby . . .

1 comment:

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I wish I'd been lucky enough to see a psychiatrist like you prior to my EDS diagnosis! It's really interesting to see your insights into this crossover area between physical and mental health because it's so often ignored.

Completely off topic but:
In my local area there have been ward closures/bed losses for the inpatient psych facilities. I keep hearing (as yet unsubstantiated rumours) that the local social services dept are paying £300 to those mental health patients who are in need of admission to the halfway house/respite unit. I've asked if anyone can get hold of paperwork to prove this as knowing the way this local authority works it's depressingly likely this is true.
Bendy Girl