First, the Doctor you choose Must treat you as a patient and not as a controversial subject.
Second, If your Doctor does not have training and experience in diagnosing Chemically induced injuries he should be willing and happy to refer you to a specialist familiar with Chemical Injuries caused by Low Level Chemical Exposures . If not, find another Doctor.
Third, The Specialist should have actual experience with a good number of chemically injured patients. He should have long term experience in the treatment of your illness.
The Doctor you find may be a Medical Doctor or a Doctor of Osteopathy
Your Doctor may be a specialists in Immunotoxicology, Toxicology, Occupational Medicine, Neurotoxicology, a Cardio-vascular Surgeon, Neuropsychiatry, or Clinical Ecology (Environmental Medicine).
A DOCTOR WHO WILL NOT AGGRAVATE YOUR CONDITION
According to the book,
"NEUROTOXICITY Identifying and Controlling Poisons of the Nervous System...New Developments in Neuroscience" published by Congress through the no longer extant Office of Technology Assessment..."
A large percentage of physicians who provide occupational health services are employed by industry, yet many workers have no source of occupational health services and must rely on their family physicians. Family physicians are rarely trained in occupational medicine and thus are less likely to obtain histories of occupational exposure." This statement explains why it is so very difficult to impossible to locate a doctor if you are chemically injured or disabled.
The truth is there are very few qualified and caring doctors willing to treat the chemically injured or disabled patient. One reason doctors are not enthusiastic about this injury is that due to the struggles of the chemical industry to avoid appropriate responsibility, chemical injury while gaining credibility is still a controversial diagnosis. Another reason is the litigation doctors are forced to participate in if they agree with this diagnosis.
Again chemical companies that are defendants in toxic tort law suits are often very abusive to doctors who speak out on behalf of the chemically injured. Doctors are at times required to be available to testify in court for weeks on end. This can cause havoc in their offices where their staff must either be temporarily laid off or paid during these periods when patients can not be seen.
Doctors who treat chemically injured patients frequently have their private lives and professional skills questioned repeatedly in depositions and in court. These doctors are often forced to be our advocates as well as our physicians.
Another reason doctors may want to avoid the chemically injured is due to the multisystem complaints and damages making these cases complicated and time consuming. Chemically injured patients are difficult to treat as there is so little acknowledgment of the injury there has been little research to determine effective treatment.
Start by doing your homework: REFERRALS
Ask other chemically injured people which doctors they see and like. You may need to join a support group or read a few news letters from Chemical Injury organizations to make the necessary contacts to obtain referrals.
Read any articles or studies on Chemical Injury by doctors and check to see if any of these doctors live a reasonable distance from your home. You may want to consider a few hours driving and the suffering traveling entails as a worthwhile tradeoff for a doctor who accommodates, respects, and understands your injury.
Be aware that not all researchers are treating physicians. Also not all doctors who do research on Chemical Injury are sympathetic with patients. Some may be working for or funded by the very industries which were responsible for the injuries or disabilities. These researchers are working to disprove injuries from chemicals. Your best bet is to obtain a personal referral and read all the studies or articles you can find on a doctor prior to making an appointment.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR AT THE OFFICE
If you walk into the reception room at your doctors office and are assaulted by plug-in room fresheners and nurses wearing too much perfume, you probably have the wrong doctor. If the doctor understood chemical injury at all these things would not be encountered by her/his patients.
If you are struggling to breath and see cockroaches on their backs with their feet up in the middle of the room or residues around the edge of the rooms, these may be an indication of a recent pesticide treatment. With pesticides it is best to ask. Be sure to ask what they do for pest control or what type of pest control is used. Often when employees are asked simply, "Have you used/sprayed pesticides here recently?", their answer is no. However upon closer investigation one finds that indeed the pesticides are applied, only by a private pest control company.
Is this a new ploy to avoid responsibility and deflect complaints on the part of pesticide applicators? Who knows. Just be sure to ask, "What is done for pest control?", not "Have you sprayed?", or you might not get the facts..
After obtaining this information one may go on to obtain Material Safety Data Sheets, labels or complaint forms if one is injured by the exposure. Rest assured that a doctor that treats their office with pesticides is not protective of his chemically injured patients. Although the chemically "disabled" patient is within their rights to file a complaint under the American's with Disabilities Act for not having access to physician services as well as formal complaint's for pesticide overuse or misapplication when appropriate, this is not going to improve the patient/physician relationship.
WHAT TO ASK FOR
If you have immune damage, autoimmune disease or any other condition where your immune system is compromised and you catch contagious diseases easily and have difficulty getting well, you may want to call ahead and make appropriate arrangements. Either ask to wait in your car or weather permitting outside until the doctor can see you. You may go directly to an examining room to wait for the doctor. Sometimes extra examining rooms are not available, however most doctors will allow you to wait in your car or outside and send someone after you when the doctor is ready to see you.
Ideally a doctor would provide a separate area for contagious and non contagious patients as well as a safe environment with proper ventilation and air filters for their chemically injured patients. Basically look for the same accommodations in a doctors office that you would need in your home. Hard surface flooring, air filters, as dust free an environment as possible, no perfumes or scented body products on employees, no toxic cleaners or waxes used. The doctor who does all this to accommodate their patients is very rare, however be sure to ask for these accommodations.
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