You trust your general family practice, and your family practice doctor knows you. But there are some interesting things both patients and doctors become complacent about. To shed a little light on the most common of these, here are a few thought-provoking facts.
1. Patients are misdiagnosed 5%-15% of the time.
Don’t panic, your doctor has her degree for a reason. But overconfidence or lack of patient followup are two reasons doctors sometimes miss the mark when declaring your ailment. This is why it’s important to contact your doctor after an appointment if you still feel off, and especially important to get a second opinion for a serious diagnoses or an illness with high treatment cost.
2. The prescription you are given was likely chosen by you.
This is somewhat reasonable, as doctors can be more confident prescribing a drug you already have experience with. This influence decreases the more severe your symptoms, though. You can have a favorite cold medicine, but symptoms that put your at risk for worse complications mean the general family practice takes over for your own good.
3. The prescription you are given may have been a free sample.
The medical market is still a market. Pharmaceutical companies send out samples to your family doctor, who then gives them to you to avoid paying for a different treatment. And doctor worth his salt won’t just toss it at you because it is free, though — they’ll make sure it’s an appropriate treatment first and of course get your consent.
4. Good communication with your family doctor leads to better health.
This should be a no-brainer, but sometimes we patients are the ones overconfident in our general family practice. We think our doctors can just look at us and snap their fingers, but the truth is that even the most familiar patients and doctors much communicate clearly their thoughts and concerns for any physical complaint. Your doctor cannot feel what you feel, so clear communication is essential to a healthy relationship and a healthy life.
5. Patients often receive incomplete drug instructions.
Remember how communication is important? It’s really important when it comes to taking medicine properly and knowing what you’re even getting into. Without prompting, your doctor might not tell you the side-effects or even how long you should be taking the medication. This isn’t always an indication of unprofessional behavior, merely an overlook or over familiarity to the point of forgetting patients don’t know as much as they do. Always ask questions and get the full picture of what you’re putting into your body.
6. Even doctors fall prey to myths.
Mostly harmless ones, thankfully. To show we’re not the only ones sometimes out of the loop, here are four common beliefs that even doctors assume are true when they are not.
- We use only 10% of our brains
- Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death
- Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser
- Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight