When you are sick, you trust your doctor to give you the best advice. You also trust he has been given the truth so he can best guide you. I want to share my personal experience here. About 10 years ago my dad was experiencing some very bizarre symptoms and upon visiting his doctor he was put on an antibiotic, Levaquin, for what was thought to be a bladder infection.
Without boring you with all the details, he was misdiagnosed and it was actually Lyme disease. However, he took one dose of the Levaquin and told me his ankle was hurting and he was having trouble walking. I called the doctor and told him I had my dad stop taking the drug and he agreed. His tendon was damaged, after just that one dose, and after being prescribed the correct antibiotic for Lyme his symptoms cleared but he had to go to physical therapy for several months because of the damage done by the Levaquin.
I researched that antibiotic and found that ruptured tendons were definitely a common side effect, along with many other serious ones. Fast forward to last year when I was in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery. One day out of ICU I developed sepsis and late that evening the nurse came and told me the doctor had prescribed a different antibiotic to fight this. I asked which one and she told me Levaquin. I told her absolutely not – I would not take that antibiotic or any drug in the same class.
She said she would tell him and have him use another antibiotic which he did. The next day when he came by he was a little annoyed with me and asked why I insisted on changing the drug. I told him I knew a common side effect was tendon rupture and it happened to my dad and I did not want that drug. He countered with, “you were worried about a ruptured tendon and I was trying to keep you alive.” I told him I appreciated that but he also wanted me up and about as much as possible in order to heal quickly and a ruptured tendon would have definitely slowed my recovery.
It was pretty obvious he was aware of the possible side effect. Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg and her husband along with Johnson & Johnson were charged with conspiracy, racketeering and concealing the dangers of Levaquin in a recent federal law suit! So much for protecting our health. I know doctors certainly can’t know every detail about every drug they prescribe and had I not known about the dangers from my dad’s experience, I most likely wouldn’t have refused it.
We can’t possibly know about every drug a doctor may prescribe, especially in a situation where we don’t have the time to go and research it first. And doctors can’t know every detail about every drug either. But shouldn’t we be able to trust our government to be putting our well-being first and not their financial bottom line?
How do you feel about being your own health advocate?
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