Most physicians are caring people who don't mean to lie, says a leading medical expert, but the problem is that "medicine has become a religion rather than science."
"Many times, doctors are so closed minded that they can't see the big picture — you — and only look at the symptoms they are familiar with," Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. tells Newsmax. "It's like arguing with a religious leader trying to change his or her convictions. Remember that you have control of your body and have to make choices that you are comfortable with."
Here are some of the most common lies doctors tell their patients.
- "I don't know what's wrong with you, are you sure you're not imagining it or feeling depressed?" Teitelbaum, who is an expert on chronic fatigue syndrome and the author of "Real Cause, Real Cure," says his patients were given that line time and time again before he was able to diagnose them with CFS and begin treatment.
- "Any health care professional who is not an M.D. is a quack." Approximately 30% of Americans have sought treatment satisfactorily from alternative physicians. Acupuncture, chiropractic and hypnosis are just a few of the unconventional therapies that can treat medical conditions.
- "The more tests we do, the safer you are." Ask your doctor why he or she recommends these tests and are they necessary for your symptoms.
- "There's no need to change your diet. Just take your medications and you'll feel better." Teitelbaum, also the author of "The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction," says that by cutting back on sugar, for example, you lower your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. Excess sugar in the diet causes fatigue, mood swings and anxiety.
- "If you get a second opinion, you don't trust me." Always follow your instinct, and a good physician will encourage you to get another opinion if you seem uncomfortable or confused with the diagnosis.
- "You have (insert diagnosis here)." Statistics show that nearly half of clinicians see diagnostic errors at their practice at least monthly. Always ask if there are other possibilities.
- "Here’s a prescription for something to make you feel better." Dr. Pat Salber M.D., tells Newsmax that in doctor-speak this means "goodbye, your appointment is over and it's time for the next patient." Often the diagnosis is iffy, but not serious enough for doctors to take the extra time to get to the bottom of the problem.
- "I think your baby has an ear infection." Salber says that the key words are "I think." This means the practitioner really can't see evidence of an infection but will prescribe antibiotics to cover all possibilities.
- "Your cholesterol levels are high. I'm putting you on statin drugs." Ask if there are alternatives, such as change in diet and exercise. Doctors are not always well versed in nutrition so you may want to seek a dietitian for further guidelines.
- "Don't worry. I've been practicing medicine for 25 years." Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that doctors who have been out of medical school for more than 20 years are almost half as likely to stay up-to-date on new medical findings than those who graduated recently.
- "I've performed many of these before." Statistics show that urologists, for example, who perform more than 40 prostatectomies a year have fewer complications than those who perform less than 40. Ask for specific yearly numbers and then find out how this compares to other specialists in the field.
- "Let me refer you to Dr. Smith." While Dr. Smith may be a good guy, when you need to see a specialist, you want the best. Ask your doctor who he would send his wife or children to see for an evaluation. While medicine is supposed to treat everyone equally, Kevin Soden M.D. co-author of "Special Treatment: How to Get the Same High Quality Health Care Your Doctor Gets," says "often practitioners who work in a health care system will refer you to someone in the same system, while the best physician may be in a completely different facility on the other side of town and you can bet that's where your doctor would send his family."
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