What is the job of a doctor?
From user ‘allopathy’…
This idea that doctors shun anything that isn’t drugs or surgery is a straw man. Doctors are in the business of giving reliable, proven advice to their patients. Of course that includes things like exercise, preventative care, proper nutrition and stress relief. Yes, there is even room in modern medicine for things like meditation, and positive thinking, so long as we don”t start assigning to them magical powers and overhype their benefits. Modalities must be proven to work under strictly-controlled laboratory conditions. If your treatment-of-choice can’t pass muster, it’s because it doesn”t work. It”s not because “Big Pharma” is conspiring to keep supplement X or method Y off the shelves and out of doctor’s offices.
Our health care system is far from perfect and has many flaws. This doesn”t mean the treatment itself is bogus. To say otherwise, as Mr. Chopra has done, is to confuse two completely separate issues.
Additionally, to say that science ignores anecdotal evidence is completely wrong. Anecdotal evidence is the starting point for in-depth research, but it is not, nor should it be, the final word. As Mr. Chopra pointed out, the placebo effect comes into play 30% of the time. We need to be able to separate the placebo effect from the actual effect. The human mind is more fallible then we imagine, making anecdotal evidence suspect. We must take extraordinary care when dealing with such claims, and only through rigorous, controlled research protocols can we get to the truth.
Allopathy, Ah, I remember the heady days when I started the evidence-based-medicine club at a major teaching university. So full of hope I was that we as a profession would only apply “modalities …proven to work under strictly laboratory conditions”.
But the only things that can be tested well with a double-blind-placebo-controled-multi-center (DBPCMC) study are single, simple interventions like drugs or a single nutrient, and rarely a surgical procedure. It is too simple of a model for complex, interconnected, dynamic humans. Humans adapt, humans heal, humans bring bias to the treatment room.
It (a DBPCMC) is like studying the effects of a single parenting behavior upon the effect of the behavior of the grown child… It takes huge studies many years, many dollars, to find a statistically significant change that may have no bearing on actual clinical outcomes in that individual!
What is the job of a doctor? If it is to be the dispassionate and ‘correct’ expert advisor then your approach is correct. I have chosen to believe that my job as a doctor is to act in the best interest of my patients, to be more of a healer than technician, to honor the evidence, but never quit asking WHY and to let individual RESULTS be the sine qua non of my success in this realm.
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