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You CAN say NO!

October 15, 2012

When your doctor says you need XYZ procedure, he may be right.  Or he may be biased.  Or influenced by an outside company, or billing, or what she read most recently in the New England Journal.  Your doctor definitely wants whats best for you but realize that doctors are human and his/her recommendations are influenced by a number of factors.  I’m going to use a recent New York Times article to illustrate this point: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/can-you-do-too-much-to-prevent-a-stroke/?ref=health

In short, the article talks about surgery or stenting for carotid disease if you have no symptoms.  If you ask a cardiologist, they’ll tell you you need meds for your blood pressure and cholesterol.  If you ask an interventional cardiologist (one who does invasive procedures like cardiac cath)  he’ll tell you you need a stent.  Ask a vascular surgeon and she’ll say you need surgery.  Medicare doesn’t pay for some things and it does for others.  Direct billing to patients generally gets docs more money.  Device manufacturers spend millions of dollars each year marketing stents to doctors.  And after all that, turns out none of these things will necessarily prevent a stroke anyway.

Pick any procedure or surgery you like, as long as it’s not an emergency.  There are usually multiple factors and opinions involved.  This is because, as I’ve said before, MEDICINE IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE.   What works for one person might not work for the next.  Get a second opinion. Look it up.  Ask your grandkids.  Listen to all of it or none.  Just remember you CAN say NO.

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