Beware: What Doctors DON'T Know

I've always known it was more art than science but to have it put in such bold, harsh terms in an essay by Abigail Zuger, MD, in The New York Times today was pretty scary. Zuger compared doctors' judging the likelihood of your beating certain diseases more like playing the lottery than having your real chances measured out in good numbers and strict statistics.

It's all guesswork, she says. That may not sound so bad but when you're a cancer patient, and you're told the chances of having a recurrence are less than 1% (and then you do), who wouldn't want statistics to be right?

Of course they're educated guesses, but if you choose a doctor based on his successful outcomes, there are ways he can fudge it. Some just don't take on the sickest patients.  I have friends who chose fertility clinics based on the number of babies produced, not realizing the stats were so good because the doctors only accepted younger patients.

So, what to do?  Your homework, and I guess, hope for the best!




http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/science/naked-statistics-by-charles-wheelan-review.html?_r=0

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