That’s the question I was left with after watching his truly astounding interview with Jennifer Esposito. If you are in the dark about the backstory of why he was interviewing Jennifer, here’s your quick recap:
Jennifer has celiac and was an actress staring on CBS’ Blue Bloods TV show. She was hired to act in a part-time role, however her hours were much more than her physical self could endure (think 80 to 90 per week). She had been undiagnosed for many years and had a lot of health problems which eventually caught up to her and led to her collapsing on set. After going on a leave of absence, CBS ‘fired’ her.
I don’t personally know Jennifer nor do I know all the details of the story, however what I can tell you is that the media has not been kind. And though she’s clearly a very strong woman, this entire situation is surely a huge thorn (at the least) in her side. It underlines how completely uneducated the general public is about celiac and living gluten-free. And though I’ll never claim to understand what’s like to walk in Jennifer’s shoes or anyone else with celiac (as I myself am gluten sensitive), I can tell you from personal and professional experience that it’s no walk in the park.
So to get the latest scoop, Dr. Drew (yes of Celebrity Rehab) interviewed her on his show about what happened and, in my opinion, it wasn’t pretty. Actually it was a horrible train wreck for both the lack of true, informed journalism on the show’s part as well as for the medical community since Dr. Drew kept insisting that since he’s a doctor, he knows about everything.
I get that in this day of instant news, headline grabbing is important. The public’s attention span is short and you want to hold them on your station for as long as possible. But at least do it with some level of integrity and empathy for guests. Jennifer’s not (as far as I know) a raging alcoholic or drug addict that’s gone on benders and needs rehab.
Why treat her with contempt and ask her questions trying to trip her up?
Why focus on details that frankly aren’t all that important to the overall story?
Why take the perfect opportunity to real bring compassion to a health concern (for many out there) that is incredibly misunderstood and make a mockery out of it?
I guess so people like myself would talk, blog and carry-on about it to keep Dr. Drew’s name in the headlines. Ugh.
Should this blog ever end up in front of the folks at Headline News or Dr. Drew himself, just know that you’ve done a real disservice to yourself and the celiac/gluten-free community. That people who are brave enough to come on TV and talk openly about serious health concerns don’t need to be bombarded with rather stupid questions so you can get your angle.
You are what’s wrong with the Western Medical community…
- unable to listen to your patients and hear what they are saying
- unwilling to acknowledge that maybe the patient knows their situation better than you do
- assuming that the problems or issues reported are overblown or worst, all in the patient’s head
- minimizing the struggle, shame and frustration that patients experience.
For those of you out there who might be a a part of the Western Medical community who don’t fit this mold and actually show true empathy and care for your patients, kudos to you. However the horror stories from people I work with and even from my own life are rather shocking. It happens all too often (especially to women) that doctors will blow off your problems and say it’s all in your head. Doctors like Dr. Drew (or the “doctor” he decided to show up on set as during Jennifer’s interview) are why so many people go undiagnosed. They assume they know everything about everything and are unwilling to allow room for the unique personal journey that a patient experiences daily.
As I’ve clearly stated, I’m gluten sensitive and I can’t tell you how many physicians have laughed in my face and told me that my digestive and other physical woes were all in my head when I described my intolerance to them. My father (a physician) has always been the first person to point out how little food and nutrition is taught in medical school and that continuing education is focused around the topics sponsored by drug and surgical instrument companies.
So this all said, I ask you to sign this petition that will express the outrage and dismay of our community to Dr. Drew and the folks at Headline News and request an apology to Jennifer Esposito. That says we won’t tolerate being minimized or walked on simply because we look fine on the outside. That says we don’t appreciate our message getting lambasted because of sheer ignorance or for the sake of making something dramatic and eye-catching.
I’ve already signed… it only takes a minute!
Please share it on Facebook and Twitter! Let’s get our voices heard!!
Leave a comment below sharing that you’ve signed the petition and tell me your doctor horror story as you try to get the help you needed to better your health.