#53 “How Come No One Ever Told Me About This Before?” (Part 1)

“How Come No One Ever Told Me About This Before” is a strange title for an article but is one of the most common statements heard from patients when they return for their first follow-up appointment after delivery of the Urbanek Device.  This comment usually comes from patients with between 5 and 40 years of unresolved symptoms of TMD/TMJ.  These are the patients who have been seen by many other doctors complaining about their disparate symptoms and have tried multiple recommended treatments without resolution of their problems.

Several years ago, I had a patient swear to me she had seen 150 different doctors over a period of 30 years seeking resolution for her headaches, earaches, neck pain, jaw pain, tinnitus, subjective hearing loss, vertigo, and upper back and shoulder pain, and arm/hand/finger tingling and numbness.  When she returned after having worn the device for three weeks, 24/7 except while eating, she asked, “How come no one ever told me about this before?”   I also have a patient who swore she and her insurance company spent over $200,000 on Botox over a period of 10 years for her headaches and shoulder pain and had the receipts to prove it.  She was consulting with me because of her unresolved headaches and shoulder pain. After wearing the device according to the protocol for 2 months she asked, “How come no one ever told me about this before?”

These are two extremes of the many patients who have asked this question.

I know the answer to this question. It is a big question. It will be a big answer.  The answer, however, is not a single answer, but an answer with multiple parts each addressing different players in our United States health care system.  The answers to this question will appear shocking to some people.  The truth is sometimes shocking.  Many health care businesses do not want patients to know the facts regarding our health care system.  Many patients do not want to confront the facts regarding our health care system.  And many providers (doctors of every variety) find our health care system intolerable.  Have you noticed there are many physicians who are retiring early or finding some other way to make a living.  Have you noticed a coalescence of independent hospitals, physicians and now dentists who work under the umbrella of large corporations.  There is a name for this phenomenon. It is referred to as the “corporatization of health care”.

To answer this question completely the reader needs to first understand there are competing interests that drive health care.  Each of these competing interests have their own agenda and goals.  Some of these goals are diametrically opposed and contribute to a system that cannot self-regulate for the betterment of the people they serve.   Rather than altruistic, they are selfish and only look out for their own interests.  On the other hand, if they do not look after their own selfish interests they will eventually cease to exist.

I am well-schooled and experienced in altruism having founded two separate charity medical and dental clinics in Haiti, (1979) and Jamaica, (1991) during my early career as a double degree (DDS and MD) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.

( Altruism:   The unselfish concern for other people—doing things simply out of a desire to help, not because you feel obligated to out of duty, loyalty, or religious reasons. It involves acting out of concern for the well-being of other people)

I have also had the opportunity to watch and personally experience the control of health care transition from the individual doctor to corporate entities. Out of necessity in the year 2001 I reconfigured my practice, which once focused on treating kids with cleft palates and facial deformities, and adults with oral cancer, facial nerve damage, and facial skeletal growth anomalies, because insurance compensation for these services were insufficient to sustain my practice.

The answer to the question, “How come no one ever told me about this device before?” needs to be answered in several parts, each part addressing the competing interests. These interests include insurance companies, teaching institutions, hospitals, corporate health care groups, venture capitalists, governments, and individual physicians, dentists, and of course patients.  There is more than one group responsible.

My plan is to answer the question honestly, thoroughly, and completely, discussing each competing interest individually beginning with insurance companies.  This segment of the answer will be a surprise to some, and not to others.  It will shock some and will be censored by insurance companies if they have the chance.

I am looking forward to writing Part 2 of “How Come No One Ever Told Me About This Before?” for next week’s blog.

Until then, if you or your referring doctor think your symptoms are related to TMD/TMJ don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation.

We are here to help.