Monday, June 14, 2010

More Medical Incompetence

Between December 2009 and now I've learned quite a bit about doctors in general and how, more or less, they're completely full of crap. Among my experiences, I have been handed a poorly-stapled print-out from a coloring book that outlined basic stretches, I've had to wait nine weeks--twice--to see a certain doctor, and I've been given a psychiatric evaulation from an orthopedist that said the Olympic Trials weren't important because only three people from that race make it to the Olympics. (Good story--might show up in the comments section.) But now I've realized that during 40% of the duration of my medical odyssey, Number Two has experienced similar medical incompetence.

While I still firmly believe Number Two (or 46) is being as soft as hell regarding these injuries (could you imagine Aaron Rowand taking this time off after one of those times he broke his face?), his beef regarding the Red Sox' misdiagnoses of his maladies is completely justified.

When 46 first suffered a rib injury colliding into Adrian Beltre, he was diagnosed with a contusion of his ribs. He was listed as day-to-day. It took nearly a week for the Red Sox to perform an MRI on the player and figure out that there were non-displaced hairline fractures in four of the outfielder's brittle bones. When I heard that the team's justification was that rest was the only option whether it's a contusion or a break, I was a little blown away. I speak from both personal experience and common sense that it it profitable to get a conclusive diagnosis so that there can be an accurate recovery time objective. It's better mentally for the player. It's better for the team's planning. And it's better for the fans and media to have this insight instead of questioning the player's toughness. This is common sense. The second point here is the most important--more on that in a second.

When 46 made an unnecessary diving catch a few weeks ago in Philadelphia and broke another rib in a separate area, you'd think the Red Sox wouldn't make the same mistake. Wrong. They threw him on the DL but still didn't run an MRI until last week. This is absolutely dumbfounding.

I mean, as overrated, soft, and mediocre as 46 might be, does this team and its medical staff led by Dr. Thomas Gill realize that this is a multi-million-dollar asset in a huge freaking business? Is it an issue of Dr. Gill's time? (Could have been--I have called his office in regards to my own injury and the phone rang off the hook.) Is it an issue of investing in the MRI? Is it an issue of insurance? If any of these are true, that is ridiculous. It's the Boston freaking Red Sox. They can't shell out $750 for an MRI? Or they can't find a team doctor who has more time on his hands? We're not talking about a pizza shop here, we're talking about a business who literally stands to make or lose millions of dollars contingent on its employees' health.

It wouldn't surprise me if 46's organization-wide reputation of being somewhat of a pussy makes the team skeptical of all his ailments. Maybe Manny Ramirez and JD Drew's phantom injuries have influenced the team's philosophy to not get tests whenever a player wakes up with a sniffle, a hangnail, a finger avulsion, or the dreaded condition of sore glove hand. But the team's success is pretty important to the region and the organization's finances. So why is their medical team not ponying up the dough or time for another test? Why are these doctors doing such a crummy job?

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