By Stewart Koesten

This might not seem like a subject of interest for our wealth management clients, but I assure you, between medical expenses incurred and time lost from work, the effect has quite a bit of relevancy.

My dentist, a good dentist I might mention, had occasion recently to recommend a root canal.  The endodontist he referred to me had to push out the appointment almost a week.  Concerned about the risk of infection my dentist prescribed an antibiotic.  He mentioned in passing a possibility of a bad reaction to the antibiotic but didn’t elaborate nor quite honestly did I question him.  That turned out to be a bad move.   The “bad reaction” he mentioned nearly put me in the hospital as I had developed a serious case of C-Diff, a dangerous intestinal toxin.

In discussions with physicians since taking the antibiotic, I learned that this particular antibiotic has a reputation for C-Diff infections.  I plan to have a chat with my dentist about his tendency to play down his explanations of what’s going on in my mouth.  Mostly he gives a brief description, winks and then goes on with his procedures.  With a dangerous drug like this antibiotic, he should be fully transparent and inform his patients about the real risks and allow his patients to choose to undertake such a risk.  Alternatively he could have instructed me to prepare for this dangerous antibiotic by consuming probiotics in advance (there were several days between calling him and seeing him), in essence preparing the intestines for the onslaught of these antibodies.  Had he done so with me,, I might have declined the prescription since it was more or less preventative.   I caution you to not simply accept what doctors and dentists suggest but insist on understanding the full risks or have an advocate with you if you need help understanding what’s being suggested.  I can only imagine how clients of ours might react if we treated them in the same manner my dentist treated me.  In the end, the experience was horrible but one I survived and learned from.  Hopefully you’ll have learned from my experience and be very careful with antibiotics.

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