Three Questions To Ask Your Doctor

I wrote about this on another post, but to make the information more accessible in my archives, I’ve decided to repost three questions you should always ask your doctor.

  • “What else can it be?”
    • This will prompt the doctor to pause, think again, and extricate himself from a cognitive trap.
  • Could two things be going on to explain my problem?
    • Occam’s razor (”the simplest explanation is usually the best one”) is something medical students are indirectly thought to believe, and in most cases, this is the case; however, by asking this question, you force the physician to address the pitfall of “satisfaction of search” where the first diagnosis becomes the working diagnosis without ever evaluating other possibilities.
  • “Is there anything in my history or physical examination or lab tests that seems to be at odds with the working diagnosis?”
    • This will safeguard against “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias occurs after the physician has an initial diagnosis. Any symptoms which do not coincide with this initial diagnosis will simply be brushed off as irrelevant rather than being further investigated.

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  1. I am working on a post that also addresses physician pitfalls. It is something that I mentioned to JT before eating at Miyako weeks back. I hate how today’s doctors just hand out prescriptions and pump chemicals into your body. There should be exploration of alternatives to meds. For example, Lipitor, a statin, one of the best selling drugs in the world, should be given to people that are handicapped at walking. Doctors should scare the hell out of patients and order them to exercise or else and to eat oatmeal and cheerios. I know patient compliance is difficult, but if a physician is stern and repeatedly tells patients that they risk damage to their liver and death, people will try alternatives to Lipitor. Let’s face it, people on Lipitor already have a cocktail of antihypertensive meds, not to mention other diseases that also require more chemicals into the body. The liver does not like that in the long run.

    There are some patients that want a pill for everything an docs should advise against this. Another example, Neurologists should recommend certain patients, that have anxiety or panic attacks, to go to a psychologist/ counselor for therapy instead of just handing out Clonazepam. I wish doctors tried every alternative before prescribing chemicals. In their effort to “help” patients…they just make them worse. Stupid doctors.


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