Ask the Doctors: Hot Topics

Healthy Debate

Newscasts tell the story of a Las Vegas health clinic shut down because of a major health violation. Forty thousand patients of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada may have been exposed to HIV, or hepatitis B or C. Workers are accused of reusing syringes and vials of medication. Tens of thousands of patients received letters in the mail urging them to get tested for the potentially deadly diseases.

"What's going on here?" Dr. Phil asks The Doctors. "It sounds like a Third World country."

"If this happened, it's unconscionable," says Dr. Stork. "And it should never happen, whether it's a clinic, a hospital. And we are putting people at risk."

Dr. Ordon agrees. "Ultimately, you [the doctor] are responsible, and you need a system for peer review where people are making sure that everything is done the right way."

Dr. Phil believes most people assume sanitary conditions will be in place in a hospital environment. "When they come in with the needle, a syringe and all that, you just assume that you're going to get pain inflicted upon you, but you assume that it's at least clean," he says. "Why would they use a syringe again?"

"It's all about money," says Dr. Sears. "When I get my blood drawn, I make sure I see them open the needle from the package."

"And that's all about self-esteem," Dr. Fields chimes in. "You know, people are so intimidated by doctors they're afraid to say, 'And how long have you been practicing? And I want to know that you've taken that needle out of an enclosed container before you put it in me.'"

"So, what do we do to protect?" asks Dr. Phil. "Should we see them peel the stuff open?"

"Yeah," Dr. Ordon confirms, "you're not alone in saying, 'Show me that syringe. Show me that vial.'"

"Well, if somebody sticks me with some other guy's needle, I'm going to be hard to get along with, let me tell you," Dr. Phil says with a smile.

The doctors move on to another issue. The company that makes Airborne has agreed to a $23 million settlement after being accused of falsely advertising their product's therapeutic properties, including the ability to fight off the common cold.

Dr. Phil turns to the Doctors. "Does this stuff work, guys?" he asks.

"If you believe it does," says Dr. Fields. "The most powerful drug is the placebo."

"I have thousands of patients every year in my office with colds, and as a pediatrician, that's my busiest time, the cold and flu season," Dr. Sears chimes in.

Dr. Phil asks him, "How do you keep from just turning into a Petri dish?"

"Yeah, I am a Petri dish," says Dr. Sears with a chuckle. Turning serious, he runs down his list. "Wash my hands a lot. That's probably the biggest thing you can do. Wash your hands. And if you touch something, you will catch a cold by getting it into your nose or your eyes," he says.

"I am so passionate about this," declares Dr. Stork. "There is no cure for the common cold, except for time and allowing your body the best chance to heal the cold. So, is this bad for you to take an Airborne or a multivitamin? No. It means you're conscious about what you're putting into your body. You're hydrating yourself. You're eating fruits and vegetables. But it's going to take a week to get better."

Dr. Phil asks about disclaimers on the packaging, an example of which sits on the table in front of The Doctors.

"It says right on there that it's not supposed to cure, or help diagnose, or lessen the extent of the common cold," says Dr. Ordon. "They say exactly what's in it."

"Look at this great box," adds Dr. Fields. "If you have anxiety, and you're sitting on a plane, it's like, 'Oh my God. The magic panacea that's going to keep me from getting sick.'"

"It's all up in here, too," Dr. Ordon agrees, gesturing to his head. "If you're doing something that you feel positive about, you may not get sick."

"I know snot when I see it," Dr. Phil quips. "It is not in my head."

"Forget about Botox parties," says Dr. Phil, guiding the conversation to the next topic. "The newest trends these days are called G-Shot parties. I recently came across a newspaper article that talks about women getting injections in their " " He pauses and looks toward his guests. "Dr. Ordon, help me out here."

"Well, Dr. Phil, I know that you know where the G-spot is," Dr. Ordon ventures, "so I'm not going to get into that part of it, but ... "

"No no. Do. Tell us," Dr. Sears insists playfully. "Tell us where it is. I've been looking for years. I'd like to know."

Dr. Fields interjects, "The alleged G-spot, because we still don't know if there is one, and I don't want to think there are some women out there going 'I'm inadequate. I don't have a G-spot. Her G-spot's bigger than my G-spot.'"

"But guess what," Dr. Ordon says, turning to her. "There's also the U-spot and the A-spot."

"And how about the Doing-the-Dishes-spot?" asks Dr. Fields. "You want to turn her on? Forget about it! Bring her some flowers!"

Dr. Phil asks again about the parties at issue.

"Dr. Phil, I discourage the parties," says Dr. Ordon, "but I have done, my office is trained in doing these G-spot injections. You identify the G-spot and you add volume, you add some filling and " "

"And what?" asks Dr. Fields cynically.

"And the guy still has no idea where it is!" Dr. Stork quips.

Dr. Masterson offers her perspective as a gynecologist. "Anything that's going to boost a woman's confidence is going to make her feel more sexual, more excitement, and the G-shot is really, to me, just a confidence booster," she says. "And I would rather spend $1,800 on some lingerie than a shot that could cause infections and things."

"These things cost 1,800 bucks?" asks a surprised Dr. Phil.

"And they have to do it every four months!" Dr. Fields exclaims. "It's like, if you've got that kind of money and time, I've got a homeless shelter for you to volunteer at."

"Eighteen-hundred bucks every four months to build your confidence? How about I just tell you you're really cute," says Dr. Phil with a chuckle.

Dr. Fields thinks Dr. Phil is onto something. "How about learning to use the body parts that we actually know we have? And feeling safe with your partner, and taking some time and talking?" she says.

Dr. Phil points out that the next topic has raised a significant amount of controversy. Increasingly, women who are on the pill are skipping their last week of birth control and moving on to the next month's dose to avoid getting their period. Now, a new drug has been introduced which lets women get their period only once a year. "Is this a good idea?" asks Dr. Phil. "I mean, if you're fooling mother nature, is that OK?"

"It's not like you're fooling mother nature," Dr. Masterson explains. "It's an absolutely great idea. It's a liberator for women. What people don't realize is that when you are on the pill, when you are on oral contraceptives, you don't have a period. You have withdrawal bleeding, because the hormones keep everything constant. There's no build up or back up. Everbody's like 'What happens to the blood? Does it get backed up in there? What happens?' No. It doesn't build up, so it doesn't come out. It's just like Depo Privera, the shot, where you don't get a period, but this is a birth control pill."

"So it's safe," says Dr. Phil.

"It's absolutely safe," she confirms.