3 Secrets Your Doctor Isn't Spilling
The relationship you have with your physician is a very important one. It should be rooted in trust and complete honesty. However, like most relationships, it's not perfect, and as you're likely to keep a few facts to yourself, your doctor is probably harboring some secrets of his own. Read on for important information your doctor may be holding from you--because you deserve to know the truth.
You probably don't need an antibiotic. A 2007 analysis of information gathered from the General Practice Research Database, the world's largest computerized collection of medical-record information, revealed that primary-care physicians prescribe antibiotics up to 80 percent of the time for viral illnesses such as ear infections, upper-respiratory-tract infections, and sinusitis. Though medication may put your mind at ease, it will do nothing to eradicate a viral infection, since antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. If anything, by taking an unnecessary antibiotic, you're contributing to the ever-growing problem of antibiotic-resistant diseases.
And you may not need that CAT scan either. A report issued by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine estimated that mistakes made by doctors and medical personnel injure about 1 million people and kill up to 98,000 in the United States each year. To prevent such errors, and the lawsuits that could result, doctors overdo it by ordering a slew of gratuitous tests. In fact, the American Medical Association found that 62 percent of residents keep the possibility of a malpractice suit at the top of their mind when they make decisions about how to treat their patients.
Don't schedule surgery for a Friday afternoon. Complications due to a surgical procedure usually won't surface until the day after. So if you have an operation on a Friday and develop an infection that Saturday, for example, you'll be stuck in a hospital that's likely to be understaffed while your doctor may not be immediately available. A study published in The Annals of Surgery in November 2007 reported that patients who underwent surgery on a Friday and recuperated on a regular hospital floor over the weekend were 17 percent more likely to die in the following 30 days than were those who had surgery earlier in the week.
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