Imagine going to your doctor with a problem, and getting a prescription that not only worsened it, but has a one in ten chance of actually killing you instead.
The dramatic cognitive error that led medical experts to overlook an accepted medication as the cause of a serious epidemic is not rare. This essay from Massive Science details how this kind of medical error has happened more than a few times in modern medical history. We’ve witnessed many of those kinds of episodes over our 42 years in the healthcare field.
The cognitive bias built into the medical paradigm of treating diseases with poisons or clever devices designed to control biological functions (all medications poison some part of the biological system) often leads doctors to fail to distinguish the cure from the disease.
Only robust doctor-patient collaboration to relentlessly analyze the benefits, risks, alternatives and unknowns of medical decisions can mitigate this powerful limitation of medical science and culture.
The essay vividly illustrates 2 critical problems that impede such shared health care decisions.
First, the frequency of unknown effects of many treatments after they are approved for use but not adequately tested for all adverse effects.
Second, the cultural blindness many experts and doctors have to those unknown possibilities.
The essay reviews some deadly illnesses that were attributed to diseases rather than to the side effects of their treatment that were causing those illnesses. It reveals the cognitive biases built into the medical paradigm of treating diseases with approved medications but not considering the unknown possibilities of the adverse effects of the treatment on the patient.
It also reveals how difficult it is for even the best doctors to avoid that trap. We at Operam have witnessed the effect over our long careers in healthcare, and we are dedicated to helping you ask your doctors the kinds of questions that can help them avoid the trap as they make medical decisions with you for your care.
If you would like to learn more about how we can educate and coach you to better collaborate with your doctors, call us at 203-662-4422, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free introductory consultation