I came across this note from reading Atul Gawande’s articles since the early 2000’s in the New Yorker Magazine. It took a while to fully understand the details of what he was writing until I fully understood the complicated way in which the healthcare system worked. It worked (or rather it did not work) because keeping ones health history intact and in order (book, bag, thaila, file) is a challenge and this catches up with you when some important elements of diagnosis are needed for treatment.
I was always in desperate-awe of the fact that doctors primarily went with physical diagnosis and less on what the patient was describing, almost brushing away the details as nonsense. This left me with a feeling of not being heard or a hypochondriac who never could stop talking about her health. Then I chanced upon one of Gawande’s articles where he describes how he treated a person’s actual problem by going back to his notes as described by the patients and noted and to things that were not the standard procedure. The doctor found that the small details that are built up in the patient’s medical history are a key to understanding their medical problems better. It is important to listen to the patient and pay attention to the details and it is helpful specially so in some critical diagnosis.
In this day when carrying one’s health history and carting it between doctors is such a nuisance, it makes sense to use a good electronic data maintenance system that works well.