For the usual issues most males have, especially during a certain period of their life.
I've also accompanied friends and family to visit specialists for other issues.
ALL of the times I've been to specialists, they have always suggested surgery. ALWAYS.
And I find this unhonourable and disgusting.
Many people are not well versed in medicine. I take a particular interest in medicine and stuff so I tend to read a bit on it. But most folks do not bother much about medical stuff and will more often than not, listen to their specialist's advice and do whatever is suggested.
Here are some examples. These are true stories.
Knee pain. The specialist did an x-ray, made some diagnosis and suggested surgery to fix it.
The pain did not affect the patient on a daily basis and only during certain activities. Typically, if the issue does not affect daily life, there is no need to undergo surgery. Unless the patient really want's to continue to do activities which might aggravate the condition.
In this situation, the patient knew what was needed and did not continue with the surgery. The patient just told the specialist that it doesn't affect daily life and would just avoid activities which might make the knee pain worse.
Expected cost of knee surgery would have been SGD10k.
Lumps in a certain part of the body. The specialist called for an ultrasound. Then gave some diagnosis. Then cast doubt upon the issue. The specialist said, it could be this, or it could be that, spouting some medical jargon. Once again suggested surgery to confirm what the lump is, just in case since he "cannot confirm". This scared the patient and eventually patient agreed to go for the surgery, to remove the lump and have peace of mind.
Cost of surgery was SGD7k.
Coughing some blood during a flu. Of course the patient was concerned right? There was some blood mixed within the patient's phlegm when the patient was coughing. So the patient went to a specialist to check it out. The specialist did a nose scope. It's something like a camera on a tube which the specialist pushed into the patient's nose which connects into the throat. The specialist concluded that the bleeding was caused by some burst blood vessels during the flu and that it would just heal up. HOWEVER, the patient had a misaligned septum.
The nost is separated into left and right by a soft bone in the centre. The patient had the soft bone to one side of the nose, so one side of the nose is larger than another side. See picture on the right. It happens when one of the nose holes is bigger than the other.
So the specialist said there was nothing wrong with the bleeding of the patient, BUT, once again, recommended surgery cos the patient had a misaligned septum. The patient told the specialist that there had been no issues living with the condition since young and so declined to have surgery. The specialist tried again and said that the deviation of the septum was quite significant and said that in such cases, he always recommends surgery. The patient declined and left.
Expected cost of knee surgery would have been SGD6k.
Patient had a growth in a part of the body after going through ultrasound check up as the person had gastric issues. The GP suggested going to a specialist to check out the growth. Patient went to a specialist to find out more. The specialist made some diagnosis and said some medical jargon as usual and as expected, suggested surgery. The specialist said, it could be this, or that, or that, and to be sure, only surgery could determine, making the patient scared and doubtful. The patient calmed down and asked the speclist, "What if we did nothing?". The specialist was taken aback and said, "Well, we could do nothing and wait for a month and ultrasound again. If the growth doubles in size, then the growth is cancerous and will need to be removed. If no increase in size, then it's likely a mole, and nothing needs to be done." The patient decided to monitor for a month. One month later, the patient went for another ultrasound and went back to consult the specialist. The specialist determined that the growth did not expand and that there was no risk to just doing nothing. Just to do a routine check up scan in a years' time with GP and no need to see him (the specialist) again.
Don't know the expected cost since the patient did not ask further.
It's quite ridiculous how medical specialists prey on unknowing patients, recommending them to undergo surgery unnecessarily. It's quite sick really. And the specialists don't do it explicitly. They would be doubtful of their diagnosis and say that to find out more, they need to perform surgery. Now, I'm not saying ALL specialists are bad. These medical practitioners study very hard and are very experienced and sometimes, surgery is required to save/help the patient.
The thing I'm not happy about is that they tap into the lack of knowledge of patients and cast doubt so that the patient, who doesn't know better, will just follow whatever the specialist recommends and take up the surgical procedure. Which might be unnecessary.
This is unethical.
Although from their point of view there is nothing wrong, cos the truth is that, they cannot determine what is wrong with the patient without surgery. But they fail to mention that based on experience, there is probably nothing wrong with the patient and just to monitor for a bit longer before determining if surgery is needed. But where is the money if the specialist does that? A typical consultation for a specialist is maybe SGD100-200 for 30 minutes. Surgery goes up into the thousands of dollars.
So how do you prevent yourself from being "conned" by your specialist?
Well, just ask what if I do nothing? Is there any risk?
Or, what if I just monitor and after 2 weeks or 1 month, we check again to determine again?
Now I'm not a medical practitioner and I don't claim to be.
I'm just suggesting asking the doctor for other options. Cos they usually won't suggest doing nothing. So if you propose doing nothing, they have to address the question.
If they feel that doing nothing is not very risky and to just monitor, then fine. Else, they would say that doing nothing is dangerous something really needs to be done.
I'm not saying don't listen to your doctor or specialist. You should always listen to your specialist.
But just note that, you don't need to find out what is the problem. You need to find out if the problem is dangerous to your health. Like in case 4, the body has moles, growths, lumps inside the body which are as normal as birthmarks outside the body. So if the specialist cannot determine if it is a mole or lump, it's not important. The thing is, is it dangerous to do nothing about it? And to answer that question, the specialist has other methods to determine. ie, does the growth expand in side exceptionally fast within 2 weeks. Doubling in size in 2 weeks to 1 month is expected to be cancerous.
So the thing is, most of the time, most people would ask, what is it? And the doctor will answer accordingly. Alternatively, we could ask, is it dangerous? Or how do we find out if it is dangerous? The doctor would answer differently.
As I said, I'm no medical practitioner. Just that based on my past experience with specialists, I have noticed that they have always suggested surgery for the smallest of issues. So I have learnt to ask better questions to get more useful answers which will allow me to better make a decision for my own health.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner. My objective is to allow readers to understand that specialists might have the incentive to recommend surgery to answer a question IF the question is not phrased appropriately. Based on experience, the specialist might be able to suggest other options if the right question is asked.
<<PREVIOUS POST // NEXT POST>>