Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The More You Know: When Information Turns Dangerous

A few weeks ago I had a patient come in with some stomach issues.  After telling me what her symptoms were, she started listing off a number of complicated drug names, inquiring which would be the best treatment.  I had to gently tell her that none of the drugs listed would be the best treatment because it was unlikely that she had hypopituitarism.  Or mumps.

This sort of self-diagnosis is becoming increasingly common with patients.  They have symptoms and turn to Dr. Oz or WebMD before finally calling their actual doctors.  With the increased availability of information, doctors become a second opinion before a first has even been issued.

The greater ownership that patient's have over the last decade or so is definitely positive, but it proves problematic when it hinders physicians in doing their jobs.  So, please, next visit let us do the diagnosing.

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