As automobile options have changed over the years, so have options for medical treatment. Conditions that required invasive surgery in the past are now handled on an outpatient basis with minimal recovery time. Cures that were inconceivable a few decades ago are considered standard results today.
One of our clients was recently surprised that a bunion condition, which had required bone-breaking surgery for her mother and grandmother, could now be addressed for her without invasive treatment. She had postponed review of her situation until her feet appeared to be well beyond repair and serious medical treatment appeared to be required. The surgeries in prior decades had been painful, expensive and required long recuperation times so she was in no hurry to sign up for one.
Today, the same surgery can be avoided with orthotics and gel inserts. Our client was told that, although this treatment will not reverse the deterioration that had occurred over the years, it will prevent further worsening of the condition. Unless a patient has significant pain the surgery is considered cosmetic and they are questioned about their motivation for suffering the treatment.
Although this is great news, what if this same patient had sought medical advice a decade ago? Would these orthopedic options have been available and could the deterioration have been stopped at a much earlier stage? On the other hand the longer we postpone consultation the more we risk worsening our conditions.
So where is the line between well calculated waiting for medical improvements and incorrect timing of a worsening medical condition? Should we not at least use the information available to us through the media to make intelligent decisions about treatment?
There are no simple answers, but our client’s feet would certainly have benefited from a few years of deterioration by gathering the courage to research treatment changes sooner. I, for one, am keeping a very close eye on diabetic treatment rooting for a time when insulin will be administered without injection. Star Trek technology cannot come too soon for me !