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Photo by Michael Walk on Unsplash.

Me to doctor: I’m scheduling a couple of visits with a shaman in Colorado. He’s helped a lot of people recover from serious illnesses. I bet he’d help a lot with my symptoms.

Doctor: There’s no research supporting the value of shamans. Shamans are unproven. They are not scientific. Why waste your time and money?

Me: OK, so I’m scheduled for surgery next week. The hospital requires an EKG and an exam. There is research showing these screening EKGs do NOT have value. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends against EKG’s for screening healthy, asymptomatic adults. Besides, there’s an 82% false positive rate.

That means if the EKG shows something is wrong, 82% of the time it’s a false alarm…causing a huge waste of. time and money.

Doctor:   If it’s a procedure we can do in the hospital and make money, we decide it has scientific value. We insist it’s supported by research. Who cares if we’re wasting your time and spending millions on unnecessary procedures?

Me: What about these other tests? Research isn’t just silent. The studies show these tests add nothing to predicting the outcome of surgery…especially simple surgery when you’re just getting twilight anesthesia. Some doctors admit they don’t know why these tests are required.

An article in WebMD is titled: Many Pre-Surgery Tests Are Useless, So Why Are They Still Done? The answer seems to be inertia.

Doctor: You have to trust us.

Me: Well, I could also go down to the little church on the corner and light a candle. That has as much value in delivering safe outcomes as these tests. Or I could go visit that shaman.

Doctor: We don’t allow uppity women in this practice. Have you considered finding another doctor…maybe in another state? Or here’s a bulletin on assisted dying. You’ll like that, I promise.