Research Day

Find A Primary Care Physician (PCP)! : Case Of A Self-Treating Physician

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Self-prescribing is commonplace; studies in US and Canada have shown that more than half of the physicians had self-prescribed at one point in their career. We present an 80-year-old family physician who was tachycardic with an irregular pulse at home and thus self-diagnosed himself with Atrial Fibrillation (AF). He tried to treat himself with oral Diltiazem but ended up over treating; becoming dizzy and bradycardic to a pulse of 40 and thus coming to the hospital. This was not an isolated event as patient never found a Primary Care Physican (PCP) for himself and had had an extensive history of self-prescribing since he was a medical resident. Being an avid basketball player, patient was hampered by Achilles tendinitis. He started taking oral prednisone and giving himself subacromial corticosteroid injections. Patient eventually developed Addison's disease and had an episode of him partially rupturing his Achilles tendon due to the injection. He had also tried to suture a skin laceration on his leg in the past, resulting in a wound infection. Therein, he prescribed antibiotics for himself too!

Physicians in general tend to not sign up with a PCP and choose to ignore their own health concerns. This is especially pertinent to residents who are moving to new places in the country. The grueling demands and working hours of residency put them off the idea of signing up with a PCP. Thus, residency programs need to play an active part in encouraging residents to visit a doctor in their limited free time.

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