Post written by Bradley Hiner, MD
Speaking for me and my colleagues, the obvious answer to the title of this post is “absolutely not!” Yes, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. But what has my dander up currently is this: doctors who claim to be something they are not.
We all accept that behaviors of healthcare professionals that are blatantly false or misleading are unethical and perhaps immoral. Claims of “miracle cures” abound; remember Laetrile, the apricot-pit cure for cancer? The proliferation of outlandish claims in the treatment of incurable illness has been matched only by the growth in the Internet. Recently, I’ve had patients come in with articles they have gotten off the Internet about some treatment being offered somewhere in the world claiming phenomenal success rates for a variety of disorders including Parkinson’s. The story of “stem cells” being offered in China, Germany and elsewhere come to mind. In the words of our 37th President, “let me make one thing perfectly clear”: These claims are complete and utter hogwash. Unfortunately for the consumer, the claims are couched in so much pseudo-science that it may be difficult to sort out. But again I reiterate: Do not believe a word of it.
To me, these types of issues are a slam dunk. The claims are total nonsense and the world would be a better place if these folks spent some time in lockup. More problematic in some ways, however, are not the outright liars (I think they’re easy to spot) but claims made by reasonable doctors that are nonetheless misleading.
For example, I just today received a flyer about a Parkinson’s seminar being given by several doctors who, right on the poster, describe themselves as “Parkinson experts”. Well, I happen to know these doctors. I think they are very good neurologists. But I also know that they are general neurologists and not specialists.
Mind you, I have all the respect in the world for generalists be they in neurology or any other field. To be a generalist, you have to know about a lot of different conditions. One day in the office you may see patients with headaches, or dizziness, or back pain, or MS, or etc., etc. You may see the occasional movement disorder patient as part of that mix, but make no mistake — it is a mix.
I am proud to say that the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Program
at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin does one thing and one thing only: We see Parkinson’s and other movement disorders — all day, every day. We have three neurologists dedicated to evaluating and treating these often complex conditions. We have personnel in multiple disciplines who have completed specialized training in these conditions. We have a comprehensive approach to Parkinson’s and movement disorders that includes the only active deep brain stimulation program in the region.
This is all we do, folks. We think we do it well, and we can confidently tell you that we are in fact “experts”.
||The following is feedback received for this blog:|
I completely agree. You are experts in the field of movement disorders. I want to thank everyone associated with your clinic for all the hours of schooling and study to get to your respective positions. I am the beneficiary of everyones dedication and hard work. THANK YOU!! On another subject, with all our scientific advancement, we are not very far from the "snake oil salesman", that can cure everything from rheumatism to the common cold. They seem to prey on desperate people.
- Donald Bogart