Trust, But Verify Online, Your Doctor

from the checking-up-on-your-check-up dept

People tend to generally trust their doctors (the white jackets, stethoscopes and medical diplomas on the walls really help), but these days many people are also doing further research online. This isn’t particularly new — as there have been plenty of studies in the past about how people are researching health info online. However, it is good to see that they tend to still trust their doctors as well. There was some fear, early on, especially in the medical community, that people would use the internet (including some wrong or misleading info) to feel they could “treat themselves.” Instead, it looks like people are being quite reasonable about things — trusting their doctor, but doing their own research as well, to make sure everything sounds right.

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Comments on “Trust, But Verify Online, Your Doctor”

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Ted Brown (profile) says:

Doctors don't always appreciate this

If you come in with some research on something or other, be prepared for lots of pushback from doctors. In many cases (mostly from my experience with my wife’s and her friends’ pregnancies, and ESPECIALLY in regard to immunization shots), doctors are extremely resilient to feedback, and oftentimes have a “set fix” that they do without fully considering the ramifications for the patient. This causes a lot of uncomfort on both sides, as the doctor sees you as a wannabe know-it-all intruding on his professional experience, while you see him (or her) as a stubborn blowhard who prefers the quick “fix” than a carefully evaluated treatment.

Bob Simms says:

Re: Doctors don't always appreciate this

I am a recent heart and kidney transplant patient. When I was waiting for my organs I did a lot of research and that brought up a number of questions especially related to different options regarding post op meds.
My doctors were really receptive to my questions, and answered them all. They seemed happy that I was informed.

dorpus says:

Re: Doctors don't always appreciate this

If you’re talking about vaccinations, the evidence against the notion that vaccinations cause autism is solid. If doctors acted impatient about it, it’s because people from the general public believe what they want to believe, and think they are “smart” because they read anti-vaccination info somewhere on the internet.

LaidLaw says:

People the internet and medicine

There are a lot of people who come into our office having read research online about illnesses that they have, or think they have. Our Doctors are always willing to talk to them.
However, there are some who walk into the office and try to tell the Doctor what to do, instead of engaging in conversation. Those people are way over confident in the information that they have, and while they may understand the information that was presented to them, they have to realize that they can only understand the information as it was presented in its presentation.
People also need to understand that every doctor practices medicine the way that she or he sees is best for their patients. Everybody does things a little differently
It is also important to remember that medicine is as much an art as it is a science. And that there are tons of things that medicine just can’t fix – and that nature and nurture have to work together to solve many of the illnesses that we come up with. Even with the most common of illnesses, the only thing your doctor can do is provide your body with assistance in fighting infections, and your mind with some methodologies that will help your body and nature correct the problem.
While I believe that most people understand this (even if it is limited), there are many still who don’t get it, and toss little Internet antidotes in our faces as if we were fools.
Of course, I can tell you that many times, those people end up back in our hospital. And while you can never say for sure that even if they had followed our directions they wouldn’t have ended up there anyway: it is one of those things that you just have to sigh at, suck it up, and do what you can to nurture that individual back to health.
And on the issue of inoculations: Yes they can be dangerous – to some people. But so can water, the sun, etc etc etc. Anytime you put something in your body, there is a risk that there will be a reaction, and that the reaction will be fatal. There is also the chance that the inoculations won’t do anything for you at all. However I can say, that those who do not get inoculations on a regular basis make a lot more trips into our office through out the year. It is better for business to treat an illness than it is to inoculate, and if everybody inoculated like they ought to, we would probably end up closing our doors. Medical clinics can’t live on inoculations alone!

dorpus says:

What if the internet causes scoliosis?

While South Korea boasts of being the most internet-connected society in the world, research by Koryo University, which examined 6,333 pupils in grades 5-8, concluded that 1 out of 10 schoolchildren suffer from scoliosis. 11.2% of middle schoolers and 8.0% of grade schoolers suffered scoliosis, while girls (12.9%) were more than twice as likely to suffer as boys (5.7%).

The causes of scoliosis are not well understood; risk factors include sitting too long, poor posture, or female hormonal changes.

The 2ch crowd is having a field day with this, saying that it’s because Koreans eat too much kimchi, their twisted character, their twisted view of history, their inferior genes, etc.

Sissy Pants says:

Re: What if the internet causes scoliosis?

When I was an 8th grader they said I had the stomach flu. 3 days later I go back in and my appendix had burst and I spent 4 weeks in the hospital fighting gangrene.

Beause teh dr was wrong I spent almost 6 months in a bed instead of a couple days after a normal appendix surgery. Sooo I definately check up on anything a Dr says now.

I still give them the benifit of the doubt, but you only have one body and one life… spending a couple extra hours researching an illness isn’t a bad investment for an extra year or two of life…

nostranonymous says:

Re: Re: What if the internet causes scoliosis?

wow. crazy coincindence. I had just finished my 8th grade year and was told the same thing about my APPENDIX RUPTURING. I sucked it up for a few days until the pain was unbearable. I went back to the emergency room and sure enough they discovered the truth the doctor didn’t want to consider the first time I complained about my aching. Then I had my surgery.

And on top of that, I had extremely bad acne. They wouldn’t let me leave the hospital after my sugery for almost a month because of my white blood count being high. They thought I wasn’t healing like I should have been.

But even when my dad (a garbage man) suggested that my white blood count may be high because of my severe acne (that couldnt be treated while I was recovering in the hospital), the doctors insisted this wasn’t the reason. Turns out my dad was right and my parents and their insurance had to pay for 3 extra weeks of hospital care. Plus, I had to delay acne medication for almost a month and have permanate scarring as a result.

So I agree and suggest to all:


They may very well be much more knowledgable that you are, but they are still providing a service that you are PAYING FOR. And just like with a car mechanic, you should always question and be skeptical.

If a doctor is too arrogant to listen and at least answer and explain your questions, then it’s time to find another doctor.

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