Surgeons like to cut

Feeling in the mood for something light on my long flight home today I picked up a copy of Men’s Health. They have a formula that makes the magazine kind of repetitive from issue to issue (a couple stories on workouts, something on sex, something on money or careers, something on food, etc.) –but I like to read it every few months.

In Is Your Surgeon Scamming You? the Men’s Health folks lay out four ways to “spot a greedy doctor”

  1. You need a pricey scan, for no reason. (They’ll find some anomaly and you’ll be on your way to intervention)
  2. Surgery is the first option on the table. (There’s almost always an alternative)
  3. They can fit in your surgery tomorrow! (They’re worried you’ll change your mind)
  4. Your second opinion is down the hall. (A close colleague is unlikely to offer a dissenting view)

All this is good advice.

It reminds me of a time many years ago when my shoulder was bothering me. My internist brought in an orthopedic surgeon to have a look. Sure enough, he recommended surgery.

I told my dad, and he said, “Surgeons like to cut.” It’s a good thing they do, too. I’m not claiming that a surgeon will never recommend against surgery or suggest a non-surgical intervention, just that it’s a good idea to have a trustworthy primary care physician to talk things through with.

May 21, 2007

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