Hey! – Rob here 👋🏼
Your Daily Health Fix today is about …
Verifying Medical Diagnoses and Second Opinions
If you’ve been following closely, you’ll have noticed that every Thursday dose of Your Daily Health Fix sheds light on widely held mis-truths from within the medical systems around the world. This is never to belittle or brush aside some of the amazing discoveries and treatments that modern medicine is admirable for.
However no system is perfect, and as public health is entangled in behind the scenes politics, and heavily influenced by corporate interests, it’s never been more important than today that the patient and the wider public are aware of the factors that may sway the treatment they are offered – ultimately impacting the wellbeing of the individual in the short and long term.
So today’s Health Fix is about empowering you to seek multiple opinions, even if you trust your doctor, and even if what you’re being told initially seems logical.
Here’s a points for consideration . . .
As we noted in the past, 9 in 10 medical interventions don’t work, and the rates of negative side effect or long term injury are generally not measured. This serves to highlight how imperative it is to investigate further and be better informed before undergoing a treatment or procedure.
In a large study looking into patient initiated second opinions,approximately 15% of cases resulted in a different diagnosis. Similarly, following further exploration, 38% of initially proposed treatment plans were altered.
Another review suggested that with more serious conditions, diagnostic error could be as much as 50%. It was also observed during autopsy, as many as 20% of observed conditions didn’t match the diagnosis on the persons medical record.
It must also be noted that not all patients realised that they are entitled to additional opinions, and at the same time, doctors regularly fail to inform a patient of this option. In some cases this will be a genuine oversight, but in others, ego, personal bias and commercial interests have been shown to influence these omissions.
Practical tips to ensure you get the best treatment
Once you receive an initial diagnosis, ask the doctor to explain how they have come to that conclusion, and how they have eliminated alternative possibilities. Listen to their opinion, but refrain from starting any treatment (including medications) until you have researched further.
Next, speak to another doctor. If your condition is severe or recurrent, you may need to consult with multiple practitioners. There may be a consensus, which can be reassuring, but it’s still important to keep learning.
Let’s say a diagnosis has been confirmed, now you need to spend time looking into the root cause. Ask the doctors you have consulted with what they think caused it. Request that they corroborate their answer with evidence (from research papers). If you can and are able, try to read the data yourself to make sure the numbers match the written conclusion.
Use the same caution with any proposed treatments. Ask your physician to show you the data on the efficacy of the proposed treatment, along with the known dangers and side effects. Once again, try and analyse the results yourself, or ask someone impartial for help.
Whilst you may need some immediate therapy to manage specific symptoms, be sure that (as much as is possible), the treatment plan involves tackling the root cause of your ailment in order that you can complete your treatment without the need for long term medications and repeat procedures. Be especially aware of any advice stating ’cause unknown’ or the suggestion that you’ll have to be medicated (and therefore a customer) for life.
Lastly, use internet searches to further educate yourself, but be aware that the top search results may mimic the initial information provided to you in clinic. Apply the same vigilance to what you see online as you would when consulting a practitioner. Always question it’s validity and ask for proof!
. . . That’s it for this dose,
Until the next time – Stay Motivated!💪🏼
P.S. If you’re enjoying these updates and they are helping you, please support me and The Health Fix by buying me a coffee ☕️
The ‘Your Daily Health Fix’ post or email does not constitute individual medical or health advice or guidance. Always do your own research and consult directly with a professional.
These post are intended to be informative, educational and entertaining. Often bold claims may be made or strong opinions offered. These statements may be contrary to popular convention or commonly disseminated narratives. It is our intention to keep these publications brief, so sometimes references or links may be excluded. We will not make any claim or give generalised conclusions or guidance that cannot be substantiated with scientific research or other forms of evidence.
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References . . .
Most healthcare interventions tested in Cochrane Reviews are not effective according to high quality evidence: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Evaluation of outcomes from a national patient-initiated second-opinion program
The incidence of diagnostic error in medicine
Second opinion in medical encounters − A study among breast cancer patients
When Should You Trust Your Doctor? Establishing a Theoretical Model to Evaluate the Value of Second Opinion Visits