How Do You Choose A Doctor ?
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
Your doctor may be a specialist in immunotoxicology,
toxicology, occupational medicine, neurotoxicology, cardio-vascular surgery,
neuropsychiatry or clinical ecology (environmental
A DOCTOR WHO WILL NOT AGGRAVATE YOUR
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
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
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.