A Virtuous Patient

May 24. The New Yorker IMAGEEarlier this month, The New Yorker has published an article highlighting a tendency of some doctors to prescribe unnecessary medical tests or treatments, thus harming patients physically and financially.

This includes doing EEG for an uncomplicated headache, while EEGs are for diagnosing seizure disorders, not headaches; CT or MRI scan for low-back pain in patients without any signs of a neurological problem that adds nothing except costs; and more.   Millions of people are receiving drugs that aren’t helping them, operations that aren’t going to make them better, and scans & tests that do nothing beneficial for them while often cause harm.

The article recommends being a virtuous patient.  Do your homework, research and make informed choices.

Who would have thought?  Over the years, I trusted the doctors and wouldn’t think twice about their advice.  However, as The New Yorker points out, doctors can recommend treatments for a number of reasons.  Such as enhancing their incomes, out of habit, or because they genuinely but incorrectly believe in a treatment.  Patients tend to follow the doc’s recommendations, since they believe that doctors know more about the value of a given medical treatment.

You live and learn. Read the full story here.

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1 Response to A Virtuous Patient

  1. jncthedc says:

    Most doctors order testing based on experience as well as the clinical presentation of the patient. Every profession has its share of “bad apples.” I agree with you that a well educated patient is likely to avoid unnecessary diagnostic testing. In most cases, discussing the reasons for requested testing with the doctor will significantly reduce questionable testing.
    Your posts always have a lot of good insight.

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