Trumpitis Needs an ICD10 Code
October 2015 a new much more specific diagnostic coding system emerged for health care. Plainspeak translation: the name next to your complaint at your doctor's office got really specific. There are special codes for crashing your spacecraft, getting attacked by Orca whales or ducks, specifying whether this is the first visit or a follow up for these bizarre occurrences. However, I've yet to find a useful code for an issue I've been seeing a lot in the last 5 months or so.
My patients have had a dizzying variation of symptoms after Trump was elected. See that photo? It's based on real complaints, it's not hyperbole. Most of my patients with these symptoms are vulnerable patient populations: ethnic or racial minorities, transgender, queer, elderly, medicaid dependent, mentally ill, or all of the above. These symptoms are very real and have the potential to be costly (e.g. a work-up for crushing chest pain, or dramatic weight loss). Many of my patients are truly suffering, psychologically and physically. I have immigrant patients who, if deported, will surely die if returned back to their country of origin. I have others who now face terrifying discrimination from those emboldened by this administration's support of the alt-right / white nationalism. I have some who stay up nights worrying about themselves, their neighbors, their children, their jobs, their planet. And no, these are not "liberal snowflakes" who are bemoaning the loss of an election - these are people truly suffering in this "New World".
Apparently, I am not the only one who has commented on this. This article speaks about trauma in children. If you're dubious about the repercussions from the election I strongly urge you to read it.
We are often told not to be political in our work - that it can be a dangerous thing to bring politics into the exam room. But it's already there - gun safety, toxic exposures, reproductive health - we can't avoid it. The government is supposed to be elected to represent and help its people, not make them sick.
"...some believe that physicians can be politically active and some do not. Very bright people of conscience hold opposing views on the question."
Things are political in medicine now. There is no doubt. The March for Science, the ousting of Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, it's a frightening thing to see.
I hope to one day again have leaders that prioritize peace, the planet, the wellbeing of the humans that live here, and who take to heart actually learning from those they lead and represent.
Until then, I will have to manage in my office, dealing with the fallout the best I can, ICD-10 code for Trumpitis or not.