November 28, 2015

ADA, Diabetes 'Battle' Is Not for Patients

Again, we as patients need to question what the American Diabetes Association may do to help provide assistance for the patients. I am aware that the ADA is for the medical community, but even there, this seems little hope in receiving help from the medical community – especially primary care physicians. With Dr. Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer for the ADA who says, “Many people with type 2 diabetes who are on medications don't need to do home glucose monitoring at all," in talking about oral medications.

Until Dr. Ratner changes his message or is no longer an officer of the ADA, people with type 2 diabetes need to boycott any activities by the ADA. I realize many people support the ADA unconditionally and my message falls on deaf ears.

The interview that Kevin L. Hagan did with Medscape in October 2015 is another indication of how far out of touch the organization is with people with type 2 diabetes. The first question sets the tone.

Medscape: This is a big anniversary year for the ADA. Where do you see it headed in the near future?

Mr. Hagan: The roots of the ADA are as a professional medical association; we were founded by 28 physicians 75 years ago. Over the course of the past 75 years, our mission has evolved, and today we serve both healthcare professionals and consumers.”

If we are consumers, then the ADA has nothing of value for us and we would not shop there. We are patients and we certainly don't receive much of value from the ADA. Most of the ADA's efforts are aimed at people with type 1 diabetes. I have no objection to this, as especially children with type 1 diabetes need this support.

Mr. Hagan: “The cost of diagnosed diabetes is more than $245 billion annually, and it is an escalating price. For me, the front lines of that war on diabetes is at the level of the primary care physician (PCP). As an association, we need to give greater attention to that group.”

These are my thoughts and not Mr. Hagan's. This is the purpose of the ADA and we cannot expect better as patients with type 2 diabetes. Some doctors do treat patients with respect, but too many doctors are guilty of some or all of the following:
  • Accuse the patient of causing their diabetes.
  • Threaten patients with insulin to keep them on oral medications, when they should be on insulin.
  • Refuse to give patients any information on diabetes, lack of education.
  • They talk at us rather than with us to arrive at the best treatment for what ails us.
  • Doctors say, “More knowledge for patients is not always better…”, “Lay people just don’t understand these issues…”
  • Doctors will not individualize treatments for the elderly unless forced into this.
  • When we dare ask about insulin for better diabetes management, we are chastised for failing to manage our diabetes with oral medications.
  • Some doctors also say that using insulin is our punishment for failing to manage diabetes with oral medications.

Yes, many doctors do not treat patients with diabetes with respect, but bully and bad mouth patients behind their back and to their face. Until doctors learn to respect patients and treat them with respect, the battle will continue. The doctor /patient relationship is in disrepair and communication is sadly absent.

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