Stupidity, arrogance, ignorance are just a few terms that come to mind recently when a mother of a Fibromyalgia patient told me of how her daughter was treated when she had to go to the hospital. Those of you who know about Fibromylagia realize that this condition cannot be diagnosed through objective tests such as blood, x-rays, etc. When these results come back those who are knowledgeable in this condition recognize the probable diagnosis.
By now most people have at least heard of Fibromyalgia. Most of the medical community not only recognizes the term but also knows of the unusual symptomatic and diagnostic features. This is apparently where the problem of understanding and believing begins. Research has published numbers as high as six million people who have been diagnosed or miss diagnosed as Fibromyalgia patients. Regardless of these numbers there is still a vast majority of health professionals including MD’s, DO’s, chiropractors, nurses and physical therapists that refuse to believe that Fibromyalgia really exists.
When my patient’s daughter entered the hospital due to one of those acute Fibromyalgia exacerbations she went through the normal evaluations and testing until her results came back normal. At that point the hospital staff began treating her with indifference. They began questioning her mental and psychiatric status. This was followed by questions and insinuations concerning her “need” for drugs. When they finally offered her some pain medication the patient was so distraught that she refused the medication.
In my professional opinion the treatment of Fibromyalgia patients is worse than during the early period of the AIDs epidemic. Lack of knowledge, especially in the world of medical science, can be disastrous for patients, doctors and general public. For Fibromyalgia patients this lack of understanding, empathy and most important knowledge is still an ongoing journey of frustration.