Why patients believe the myths their doctors tell them

Straight Talking Doc Unhinged

Feb 9 2022 • 12 mins

To understand why our medical system spends so much money to generate such bad results, we have to understand how it convinces patients to engage in acts that do not help them but which they believe are necessary and lifesaving.  Doctors often used deceptive statistics and false promises of cure to sell patients drugs, tests, and procedures that are either not beneficial or are actually dangerous.  Sometimes, like with afib, the sales job doesn't benefit the doctor, but the doctor has herself been brainwashed to believe in the intervention and becomes a proselytizer of a drug or procedure, something our drug companies love!  Other times, in the case of looking for and opening blocked heart arteries, doctors benefit greatly by selling patients snake oil wrapped in a caring package of scientific trickery.  We will look at cognitive biases--why patients believe things that are inaccurate but appealing--using the case of stents and blocked heart arteries.  The fact that hundreds of billions of dollars are spent looking for and opening blocked heart arteries, without anyone benefiting from this self-serving dish of snake oil, speaks to how much cognitive bias oils the gears of our medical industrial complex.  Unless you as a patient can understand this idea, you will be easy prey to those who seek to sell you dangerous and deceptive cures.