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19 October 2008

Doctors are Absurd

I bet the creators of this advertisement thought they scored a coup then they came up with nifty statistic huh?

So now, put these into your pipe and smoke it:

  • More than 46 million Americans smoke, despite the overwhelming science that proves its damaging effects.

  • In the United States, the equivalent of the entire city of Albuquerque's dies from smoking each year.

  • Second hand smoke causes nearly 4000 toxic substances to enter the second hand breather's bloodstream within seconds of breathing the smoke.

So why do smokers continue?

Well, I don't know why. In part because I don't smoke and in part because I am not charge of their choices.

Doctor's are subject to human error too unfortunately. In choice and in practice.

Nearly 100,000 people under a doctor's care each year die from direct medical error. Including all medical intervention deaths, that's pushing 3 quarters of a million fatalities. Now you know one of the reasons there are so many plaintiff lawyers in the TV guide.

With all that though, I would rather trust my medical emergency to a trained medical provider than a plaintiff lawyer any day. Right or wrong, all of us human-types make mistakes, some are just more noticeable than others.

"To get maximum attention, it's hard to beat a good, big mistake."

- Joseph R. Alsop, Jr.

But to inject a little perspective, the fatality rate for hospitalizations in America is .0005%. Of course that is meaningless if you or your loved on is in that percentage, but is that risk a reason to not go to a doctor?

With an infant, there has not been a shortage of people - well meaning people - that provide advice and opinions on all things baby. Some is valued and some is not. Context is important in deciding what advice we accept because information and intelligence can come from many places. However, the rule of that of thumb that has served us well has been that we seek professional help from professionals. If we want our car fixed professionally, we go to a mechanic instead of our plumber. So if we want solid medical advice, we tend to go to the professionals that have spent their career learning how to treat us. Even if they tell us something we don't want to hear. And if we hear about a new fangled strategy to treat this or that, we do so in conjunction with our professional medical folks. It's so simple, but the news is filled with people that mix alternative routes to care and end up sick with toxic mixes of herbs, etc., premature death or misinformed answers.

For my part, I consider myself well trained at the things I do and my percentage of accuracy in my various tasks is pretty high. How about yours?

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