Hi Surly Amy,
I’m fairly new to skepticism; among other things, I was totally into alt-med woo. I’m now trying to make evidence-based health choices. So here’s my situation: I saw a new OB/GYN today. She was really nice and comforting, listened well, and was collaborative when coming up with a treatment plan for my (complicated) issues, taking into account my concerns. The only downside was that, in addition to recommending good (science-based, workable) options, she also encouraged me to try acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. There was also some alt-med stuff around the office (advice on a natural home-birth experience, “Mothering” magazine). Other than this, it was a positive experience and I liked her. I’m worried I’m just oversensitive to alt-med stuff, having recently come out of being very involved in it. Should I be concerned about having a doctor who embraces some woo, eventhough she also practices real medicine? Thank you!
Get a new doctor. Today. Seriously. Go. Find a new one.
This message you sent made me so angry I had to answer it right away. First of all, be VERY proud of yourself for being an intelligent skeptic and noticing that there was something awry in the doctor’s office. Also, congratulate yourself for knowing that you deserve legitimate science-based care and for knowing the difference between alt med and legitimate medical practices. Now, tell yourself that if something goes wrong with you, or if indeed something is wrong with your health and you need treatment that you deserve the best, most reliable, peer reviewed proven treatments that you can get. You also deserve a doctor who understands the difference between potential medicine and placebo effect and actual medicine and long term benefit.
I’m sure the doctor you visited seemed willing to listen and appeared to care. The Alt med-crowd seems to have really cornered the market on time spent with patients and the science based medical establishment in general could learn a thing or two about bedside manner from this, but what you really need isn’t herbal teas or acupuncture. You need someone you can trust to help you make serious decisions with your health care that can effect your quality and quantity of life and the life of a child should you conceive. This is no joke. It’s not tea time with friends. It’s a doctor patient relationship and a doctor should be trustworthy and should know better.
It’s one thing for a medical professional to acknowledge that a patient is seeking alternative treatments outside the office and to not interfere with that but it is quite another thing to have a doctor actively pushing these treatments from within the office. Recommending these treatments displays a complete lack of understanding of science based medicine and should not be tolerated. My advice? Find a better doc.
Good luck on your search and I hope you quickly find a doctor that understands the processes of the scientific method and not just how to pacify a patient.
And congratulations on educating yourself and being a skeptic. I’d hug you right now if I could!
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