5 step program to ween patients from excess medical care

Once again, using hard hitting, take no prisoners methods, Dr. D of Ask a MD blog offers up ways that physicians and other health care providers can help reduce useless, costly and dangerous levels of overtreatment.

Here are Doctor D’s suggestions to his fellow physicians:


Here is Doctor D’s plan to deliver our patients from the sad bondage of addiction to unnecessary medical care and lead them to the promised land of wellness!

1) Preach the Natural Healing Power of the Body.

Here’s a big secret we don’t often tell patients: the human body has an almost magical power to cure itself when infected and heal itself when injured! Who knew? In fact, before modern medicine this secret self-healing power of the body was the only thing that cured sick humans, and believe-it-or-not the human race survived. Modern patients and modern doctors often forget the human body has the ability to heal itself. Doctors are trained to intervene in the rare situations when body’s own self-healing fails, but before long we find ourselves intervening when the body is doing a fine job on it’s own because we only think of medical cures not the body’s own self-healing.

Doctors need to be spokespeople for the body’s own immune system! We should spread the word about the body’s abilities. We must acknowledge that even in our “medical miracles” the body does most of the healing on its own.

If MDs preach the amazing healing ability of the body, doctor-junkies will believe their body can handle that runny nose a few days without running to a doctor.

2) Grow a Pair and Don’t Piss Your Scrubs at the Mention of Lawyers!

Most docs could easily educate patients on what symptoms usually aren’t serious. Heck, we could give you a handout of all the symptoms that don’t require a doctors visit if they are short lived: runny noses, coughs, joint aches, low-grade fevers, diarrhea, feeling yucky, etc.We could alleviate your anxiety with one therapeutic dose of knowledge.

Why don’t we?

Doctors are terrified the information we give out will be used against us by blood-sucking lawyers.

We won’t tell you to stay home with that runny nose because a nasal drainage could also be a symptom of a one in a million cerebrospinal fluid leak. We get terrified of missing zebras, so we kill a lot of horses. Fear of missing a rare diagnosis drives MDs to do irrational and dangerous things. We whip up doctor-junkies into a panic over their harmless symptoms and send them like lemmings over the cliff of over-doctoring.

Medicine is about taking risks. We risk your life every time we write a prescription or order a test. We should also be willing to take a risk by not doctoring conditions that are likely benign. There is risk either way, over-treatment protects us from lawyers, so physicians kill lots of doctor-junkies every year with big work-ups that are solely done to satisfy lawyers. Since we take risks either way, then we should practice with common sense and share our reassuring knowledge that most mild symptoms aren’t dangerous with patients.

read the rest at Ask a MD blog

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