The failings of medical training

This quote is very pertinent to anyone who has experienced long term chronic illness, particularly those with an illness that is not ‘easy to see’ or ‘easy to diagnose’. A broken leg or hip is obvious, but for so many of us, many of our symptoms are invisible, and the social context is completely ignored. Anyone living well with dementia is automatically assumed to either be lying, or that their doctors are wrong.


Let’s hope the more western medical doctors take notice of the DAI webinar and this quote…


23 thoughts on “The failings of medical training

  1. so true Kate-and yes a broken leg, and broken arm or tummy bug are very easy to diagnosed, but chronic illnesses such as dementia, and sometimes Cancer are intricate and very complex to diagnose-you have to go through plenty of tests for illnesses in order to get an “official diagnose”. Although a story about my ankle happened to me about 7 years ago which i will share now. So, i was at my old friends 9th birthday party and i hurt my ankle, and the next day i went to hospital and the Doctor told me the heartbreaking news that it was broken-i was like nooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Then, the next day later another Doctor told me it was not broken, just fractured/sprained(i think was his description)and i had a checkup a few days later to see if he was right and he was-yippee!! It took me about two weeks to recover, but it was very minor compared to a broken leg-now it has been 10 years since i last broked a bone and nearly seven years since i sprained something! Hopefully no more injuries or sprains in my life!!


  2. Please keep the blog going and the emails. The issue always is preventing marginalization by family, friends, clinicians, politicians, etc., of persons with dementia, including but not limited to FTD and Alzheimer’s.
    Steve Perlis


  3. My guess is that “diagnosis” is the most difficult part of a doctor’s work. My guess is that some misdiagnosis is based on poor training, some based on not having or taking enough time to look closely, some based on prejudice, and some based on inexperience.

    However, when you think of all the variables that present themselves in how many ways, for how many different people, at how many different stages of an illness, in how many combinations and permutations, with how many different ways the symptoms are explained, and how many different ways of measuring the results … it is amazing that most doctors do as well as they do!

    Not excusing them but trying to understand. The solution? The patient and their family need to take a more active, involved role in the diagnosis; the doctor needs to take more time and listen more carefully and spend more time in researching the possible diagnoses available to him/her.


  4. I believe that many people fear developing dementia even more than they fear cancer. I think this is where the denial comes into play, and doctors only want to diagnose illnesses that they can treat. They are at a loss when it comes to basically untreatable illnesses like dementia.


    • Agree Paulan, the research now supports that as well. Dementia was declared the most feared disease for people over 65 in Australia a few years ago, taking over from cancer, as it was in the UK a while ago as well, and I think there it was most feared for anyone over 50. One worry I have had about the DFC’s and other awareness campaigns, as well as the fundraising campaigns, is they use the ‘discourse of suffering and tragedy’ to help them, especially in fundraising, but this has possibly been a huge part of the increased the stigma and fear of the disease.


      • People fear it because of the ongoing, pervasive and insidious negative narrative which lies at the root of everything else (i.e. poor care, drugging with antipsychotics, etc.). We need to change the very foundation of the narrative. That’s what I’m working so hard to do. #FightTheGoodFight


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