It may become increasingly difficult to see a real, live doctor as the heavy hand of Obamacare weighs on healthcare providers. A physician shortage looms due to many opting for early retirement and others becoming over-burdened with an influx of Medicaid and other government-subsidized patients.
Lack of immediate access to a doctor doesn’t necessarily mean lack of ability to diagnose and treat what ails you. If you’re resourceful, you may even be able to do it yourself!
Your doctor – especially if he is young and inexperienced or is confronted with an unusual medical problem he doesn’t normally handle – has a secret source for the expert diagnosis he delivers. It’s called the Merck Manual.
It’s basically a how-to guide for doctors, covering everything from diagnosis to treatment for most maladies. Of course, practicing physicians are supposed to already know what’s in the manual for physicians. But they are only human and can’t be expected to retain every tidbit of information they learned in medical school. So if they are stumped by a patient’s symptoms, they might (unbeknownst to the patient) turn to the Merck Manual for guidance.
Even if your doctor would be willing to admit to using it from time to time as a “cheat sheet” in the course of his practice, he would probably try to give the impression that it would be practically useless for an average, ordinary person. The language in it is highly technical, he would explain, and belongs in the hands only of a trained professional.
Fortunately, though, there is now a Home Edition of the Merck Manual. Your household should have a copy on hand. It covers everything from cuts and bruises to viruses and tumors. It even covers the major drugs a doctor is able to prescribe. This particular reference book could save your family a few doctor visits and could well save much more in the event of an emergency.
Tech-Savvy Options for Accessing
the Medical Information You Need
If you are at least somewhat familiar with human anatomy and medical terminology, then it won’t hurt to have a copy of the Professional Edition (for doctors) on hand as well. Both versions are available through better bookstores. You can also download or peruse an online version via the official web site (http://www.merckmanuals.com).
There is even a Merck Manual app for the iPhone/ iPad (www.agilepartners.com/apps/merckmanuals). It literally puts the knowledge base of a doctor at your fingertips wherever you go!