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The Internut

By August 8, 2020 No Comments

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the internet, but with medical issues, sometimes it goes too far.  Patients seem empowered by its diagnostic potential.  When they hit the office, they often come with a sheaf of papers printed up from a website.  Sometimes, before I even have a chance to examine them, they hand me the print out and proudly tell me what their diagnosis is.  I am a patient person and try not to be dismissive.  My response is to smile and quietly ask them what medical school they graduated from.  Most of the time they laugh and the examination proceeds.  Sometimes they are put off by my comment.  I am not trying to be rude, I am merely trying to have them focus on why they came for my opinion.  When I finish, I look at their papers.  Sometimes they are right.  Most of the time it is a futile exercise.  Instead of discouraging them, I give them my diagnosis and then suggest that they to use the internet to make sure they are satisfied with my diagnosis.   Sometimes they don’t believe what I offered to them.  That is their choice.  A medical diagnosis doesn’t have to be complex, in fact it is often simple, like hearing loss from wax in the outer ear.  It can also be complex.  Trust your physician’s initial diagnosis.  If you are not getting a satisfactory answer, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.

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