Monday, December 21, 2009

Suggesting Cushing’s to a Stranger

This post at http://blog.dustincurtis.com/amateur-diagnosis-a-dilemma reminded me of a topic we often discuss on the message boards.

That post said:

I saw a woman at Starbucks earlier today who almost certainly has Cushing’s Syndrome, a rare-ish debilitating disease that is curable with treatment. It has some very clear physical signs, like a “moon face”, a hump on the back, and central obesity with normal sized extremities. The woman I saw might not know she has it; thousands of people live in misery with undiagnosed Cushing’s for years. It can be fatal.

What is the right thing to do in a situation like this? Do you tap her on the shoulder and kindly tell her your amateur diagnosis, possibly saving her life, or do you let her go on her way, potentially living in misery?

I stared at her for about 10 seconds, thinking about what to do, and then left without saying anything.

A diagram of some of the symptoms of Cushing's
Some of the symptoms of Cushing’s

So, if you saw someone with Cushing’s,what would *you* do?

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Some early responses from Facebook:

Would you tell a stranger they might have Cushing’s?
  • Yes!!!
  • I did…and it did not go over well. I recommended two ladies see an endo because they were obviously cushie. Both thought I was nuts and didn’t listen to me (that I know of.) One was a patient of my GI and she told me all her symptoms and it was classic Cushing’s-and she didn’t believe me. She told the doc I was nuts. I don’t know if I helped or hindered their quest for a diagnosis. It makes me think twice if I see someone that might have Cushing’s.
  • Well, I think what we have to consider is that it really doesn’t matter what they think of us. At least they have heard the word and maybe, just maybe, will investigate it more.
  • I know Jayne has had a lot of success talking to people she saw in the store. And, of course, Robin made us these wonderful cards. Scroll down http://www.cushings-help.com/documents.htm until you see “Spread The Word! Cushing’s Pocket Reference”

How about it?  Would you give someone a card or talk to them?