"Studies Recommend Surgery For You" (But The Studies Can't Be Found)

Seth Robert’s doctor discovered he had a tiny hernia and referred him to a general surgeon, who recommended surgery. Seth, a psychology professor at UC Berkely and author of The Shrangri-La Diet, asked why. “It could get worse,” she said. “Why is it better to have surgery than not,” asked Seth. “Surgery is dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming.” The surgeon said clinical trials showed the benefits of this surgery. “Just use Google, you’ll find them.” Seth tried to find them. His mom, who does medical searching as her job, couldn’t find any completed clinical trials.

When he told the surgeon that he couldn’t find the studies, she said, “Well find some and copy them for you.” Over a month later, the studies had never materialized. Perhaps they don’t exist.

Maybe the doctor is just lazy or busy or misinformed or didn’t feel like having Seth as a patient, or maybe she wanted to bill for unnecessary surgery. Either way, it’s important to ask your doctor questions about the procedures and care they advise, and ask for evidence and more information to back up their recommendations, especially when you’re unsure about their efficacy.

(Photo: aesop)