Monday, July 12, 2010

Toxoplasmosis - What Your Ob-Gyn Doesn't Know

Well, for about the hundred-seventy-ninth time in my career a client has come to me for information about toxoplasmosis after having been frightened half to death or completely misinformed about it by their or their wife's ob-gyn.

Now, a physician whose job is to keep a pregnant woman and her fetus healthy for 9 months should know a great deal about the most dangerous zoonotic threat during pregnancy, right?? One would think.

And given the vast storehouse of medical information available on the internet, and the universal access by physicians to said internet, and the extensive education of said physicians which would allow them to read, understand, and put to use said professionally relevant information, one would logically conclude that ob-gyns would know at least as much about toxoplasmosis as your average lowly cat doctor, right??

The sad truth? The aforementioned ob-gyn, who will remain unnamed so as to avoid outing him as the complete fool he is, after warning his patient (who fortunately is not yet pregnant but will be trying to become so soon) about this terribly dangerous disease, then told her (and I am quoting here), "But I really don't know anything about it." Or care, apparently. He then sent her home where, in the middle of the night after working herself into a completely understandable frenzy, she placed a panicked phone call to my answering machine. Fortunately I had answers and set her mind at ease in short order.

It may come as a shock to you, but this really is a huge improvement over the situation here in Los Angeles 25 years ago when a client came to me completely hysterical because she had just found out she was pregnant and her ob-gyn informed her in no uncertain terms that she HAD TO DESTROY HER CAT. So, really, there has been progress. I think.

So now I have to take time out of my Sunday (yeah, right, like I don't LIKE blogging, lol) to enlighten you, Constant Reader, and hopefully more than a few ob-gyns if enough people link back to this page from elsewhere on the net where they are commenting on this matter in sheer outrage (that is what's known as a hint).

Toxoplasmosis IS a serious disease. It can do grave harm to developing fetuses. But problems with toxo are pretty darn easy to avoid. Here's the CDC's web page on Toxoplasma gondii and the disease it causes, toxoplasmosis. It has lots of links and there is a whole lot of material to read for those who are interested.

Here's CDC's special page on toxo geared specifically toward pregnant women. Somebody with more gumption than me needs to email that link to every ob-gyn in the country so they have NO MORE EXCUSES FOR IGNORANCE.

I was gonna settle my outrage with a glass of chardonnay, because I am pretty hot under the collar about this. But then I remembered I used that bottle to start some white wine vinegar after I learned all about how to do that on the internet.

Initiative is such an amazing thing. And in such short supply.

ETA: my fist-waving, cussing smilie avatar appears to be broken, but I'll leave him up because he's cute enough as he is.

Also ETA some CDC brochures:

Toxoplasmosis: An Important Message For Women

Toxoplasmosis: An Important Message For Cat Owners

CDC Toxoplasmosis Fact Sheet to hand to worried family members so they will stop bugging you about the cat.