Not all is at it appears, medically

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By Holly Westbrook


When you’re in the emergency room in severe pain or bleeding internally, the last thing you expect is for your doctor to accuse you of being an alcoholic because of your liver.

Without even looking at your chart, the question, “How much have you been drinking?” is asked by the doctor simply because they are told you have Cirrhosis of the Liver. You correct the doctor and tell him no, it’s not. But, the doctor insists you are a drinker and that’s why your liver is this way and no other reason.

Assumption. It makes so many people look like ignorant fools despite doctorates or multiple medical degrees. To assume a patient has obtained his or her liver disease due to excessive drinking is not only foolish (when a medical chart on the patient is available right in front of you), but also ethically and morally wrong.

It is a form of discrimination, plain and simple, since you have judged the person unfairly when in fact alcohol is not the first cause of Liver disease, an auto immune disease is the first, as a medical professional should know.

Doctors are not the only ones to make this mistake. Men and women who have Liver diseases deal with this discrimination daily. People hear they have fatty liver and think they drink a case nightly when it’s farther from the truth.

In the beginning, there’s this understanding, in a way, but the more self-educated liver patients make themselves the more belittled the men and woman feel. For people to assume, doctors more so, who have the most knowledge, that it all comes from alcoholic is most irritating for them.

Hemochromatosis, Cirrhosis, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) with Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) being a type of NAFLD and Autoimmune hepatitis disease are all liver diseases that have nothing to do with overuse of drugs or alcohol. Some of them can be inflamed due to prescription drugs, diabetes, and other illnesses.

It can be more than frustrating when no one believes you about your own illness even with a diagnosis on file. It makes you want to pull your hair out and scream.

Now, let us turn the tables. From here on out we are the assumers of those who have judged the sick on a whim.

The doctor comes in and without even looking out the chart thinks this a simple case of another over drinker out for more drugs. Assumption. It turns so many people into ignorant fools despite truth, education and what’s before our own two eyes. Look before you leap. Judge not before you know all facts.

In life, every person matters from the buggy pusher at the mega stores, to the President’s doctor. Just because a person looks, acts, believes a way that is unlike the “norm” doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of your care and your complete attention.

Next time a patient comes in the emergency room and they have liver disease take your time with them and don’t jump to the conclusion of labeling them as alcoholic. Doing so just labels you as well.