What Would Medical Workers Tell You If They Weren’t Afraid of Being Sued?

Part of a simple, deliberate life is deciding on your relationship with medical workers and the health care industry.

In Tuesday’s post I asked if a simple, minimalist approach to health care works. In fact, I asked lots of questions and provided very few answers.

Today, I’m asking even more questions. Specifically, I’m wondering what heath care workers like doctors, nurses and technicians would tell you about your health if they weren’t afraid of malpractice lawsuits and other repercussions for being honest.

I’m not involved in the medical care field at all, so I can’t be sure about the answers to the following questions. But I’m certain they’re valid enough to ask.

Would they tell you:

  • That the surgery they insist you have is the only thing that will correct your condition but that you can live a healthy life without correcting it?
  • That there is no proven solution to a problem like yours, but that you’ll feel better about paying the bill if they give you an antibiotic or some steroids?
  • That adjusting your lifestyle to incorporate a simple walk three times a week and losing ten pounds could make your symptoms go away completely and end your dependence on doctors and medications for the rest of your life?
  • That you don’t understand the symptoms of your condition well enough to provide the information they need to cure you?
  • That they’ve seen proof that a positive attitude and visualization can cure illness but they’re prohibited by medical ethics from telling you about it?
  • That the medicine they’re prescribing was recommended by a salesman who then pays them to prescribe it to you — even though no one along the money chain has seen hard evidence that it works?
  • That they graduated from a medical school with a bad reputation — or was it a school with a great reputation but they graduated at the bottom of their class?
  • That they visit a chiropractor once a month for the same type of back pain for which they just prescribed you the muscle relaxants you requested?
  • That they’re really not sure they’re helping their patients but their mortgage is too high for them to change careers?

Can you imagine a world in which a health care worker could have an honest relationship with his clients? Do you see a way to get from here to there?

Today more than ever, your comments are encourage. It’s been a week of questions, so feel free to add your own. And offer some answers if you can.


  1. Believe it or not, I’ve heard comments along the lines of the above from doctors before. I’ve actually heard a doctor talk about losing weight naturally, and I’ve seen a DVD from Mayo themselves about the importance of diet & exercise – with a list of tips to help somebody get started.

    I think that a big part of this whole situation is government regulation. There are guidelines called “scope of practice” that define what doctors are and aren’t allowed to do.

    The FDA also defines “approved uses” for medications. In other words, if a medication that’s normally used for allergy relief works really well for treating heart disease, a doctor who values their license may not prescribe it if the FDA hasn’t given it the ok for that use.

    Reference this article http://www.naturalnews.com/019366.html for information on how the FDA threatened cherry growers with legal action for posting scientific information about their crop – it’s spooky stuff!

    There’s a lot of craziness with regulations and guidelines muddying the waters here. Not sure of the solution, but I think that even getting the problem closer to a definition is a useful goal!

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  3. While medical services are seen as a business/industry I fear nothing much will improve in the US …sadly this & the right to sue for anything has been exported to the world.

    The middle ground is the mixed model ( see NZ/Aus) which while also not perfect seems a lot saner that the madness I see from my chair down here in NZ

    1. Yes, that’s part of the problem that creates the negative image of America around the world. We seem to export negative things like the lawsuit mentality and our fast food restaurants. Even our so-called democracy doesn’t represent its citizens well, and our previous president wanted to export that.

      Some people thought that having a U.S. president with an ethnic name would help our reputation in the world, but I don’t see that happening much yet.


  4. “Off-label” prescriptions are common and many doctors do it. For example, the anti-malarial drug Plaquenil, generic name Hydroxychloroquinine, is one of the first drugs prescribed for autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. This happened because many doctors saw improvement in their arthritic patients when those patients were being treated for malaria. But to the best of my knowledge it is still not “approved” for that use. Likewise Effexor, an antidepressant, has been prescribed off-label for neuralgias.

    I have recently undergone thousands and thousands of dollars worth of tests to figure out what the hell is the matter with me and face a few more based on the little bits of info garnered from the first batch. I’ve talked to specialists and nurse practitioners and MDs and DOs and whatever, and have not been overly impressed except in one instance.

    My husband, who is from England, is just appalled by our medical culture here, the way it is snarled by drug companies and insurance companies and lawsuit potential. Most of all he is unimpressed by the doctors we’ve seen, who are not keeping on top of the latest research or who can’t see some really obvious symptoms or correlations. We will soon be establishing with a new GP, since our previous one suddenly shut down her business and has made it next to impossible to get our records or critical prescription refills. Fortunately we have a fairly humane pharmacy which was a big help during this time of limbo.

    I’d better shaddup now before I take over and scare away your readers!

    1. So many people have a story like your, Meg, but there seem to be very few people seriously interested in changing the system. Many people thought Obama was interested in change, but he was more interested in rushing through a bill than actually doing anything meaningful. Now, the book is once again closed with no real changes to health care.

      The real solution, I suspect, will not come from the government. Real solutions almost never do.

  5. I think that there are doctors who will be as honest as they can (of course within the guidelines that will not get them sued) and there are doctors who won’t be because they see illness as their cash cow. Unfortunately, these are the downfalls of our capitalistic society and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

    It’s been already proven in many circles that eastern medicine and acupuncture can help cure us of ails once and for all. I am very impressed that my insurance plan covers it actually. However, many doctors still don’t believe in what eastern medicine says and I wish they would work more together because there is so much that could be gained for us through that.

    but what can you do? Corporations here will win every time. Did you hear that Whole Foods just gave in to Monsanto’s GMO foods? http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22449.cfm
    Ah yes…. who do we have left to stand up for our health anymore if a giant like WFM just gave in???

    1. That’s right, Marianne. We all gain when medical traditions work together and learn from each other, but there are very few examples of that happening at the moment.

  6. My doctor is amazing when it comes to telling me how it is. I went in for a yearly check up which came back abnormal. He told me that everything was fine, that he is recommended to have me come back after 6 months instead of a year, but that it was unnecessary and that I didn’t need to see him for a year. That it was “just another way for the insurance companies and other doctors to take advantage of you and get your money.” I will never switch doctors! I am lucky to have found him! But then again, I live in a town of population 3,500. : )

  7. When I was in high school I was selling books in the summer to get more pocket money for the next school year. Most of the books I sold were about health and natural therapies like herbs and water. Of course I read the books myself and am glad I did. I don’t visit the doctor regularly, only for blood test.

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