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Doctors Are Not God, Don't Trust Them Too Much

Updated on May 21, 2013

Some people rely too much on their doctors and fail to acknowledge their own intuition or listen to their own body. On the other hand, there are others who do just the exact opposite. Who then is right and who then is wrong?

Obviously, the answer must lie somewhere between, albeit clearly skewed in favor of doctors. The purpose of this article is to show you a few examples of when believing in your doctors too much can sometimes be fatal.

Example 1: Gestational diabetes

Doctors are not God. They are human like all of us and they can make careless mistakes, too. In other words, they are not infallible. I had a colleague whose cousin sister was suffering from gestational diabetes. As she was extra careful, she opted to be treated by a specialist hospital some 93 km from her home. One day, she went to a clinic doctor as she was feeling ill. The clinic doctor told her that she had hyperglycemia (high bood sugar) and prescribed her diabetic pills. She insisted on an insulin jab, as this was the routine treatment that her specialist doctor had been giving her for diabetes. Despite her pleading, the clinic doctor refused to give her an insulin jab, insisting that the pills were more than adequate. As her blood sugar was high, the doctor also insisted that she consumed the pills immediately in the clinic itself. Not satisfied with the doctor's treatment and after feeling better, she decided to go to her usual specialist hospital the same day. This time, the doctor at the specialist hospital gave her an insulin jab. When she returned home, she went to bed to rest and died of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Example 2: High blood sugar due to eating durians

In another case, a diabetic neighbor ate durian and suffered from hyperglycemia. She was on a daily regimen of one tablet twice a day but this was insufficient to offset her excess blood sugar as a result of durian consumption. Feeling sickly, she went to see a doctor and the doctor told her to increase her daily consumption to 3 tablets twice a day. Two days later, she fell into a coma, while watching television. She was unconscious for almost a week before she recovered.

In both cases, we could have just as easily blamed the two patients for failing to tell the doctor what they had done but unlike the first case, where the patient had a secondary school education, the second case was that of an uneducated old granny who relied 100% on the doctors.

Acupuncture needles being inserted into a patient's skin.
Acupuncture needles being inserted into a patient's skin. | Source

Example 3: Colostomy

More dramatic was the case of a high school girl whom the doctor had suggested colostomy, a surgical procedure to redirect her feces to a plastic bag attached to her waist on a permanent basis. Her mother refused the operation and sought alternative treatment. As luck would have it, she found a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor who prescribed Chinese herbs. After her daughter drank the concoction for two consecutive days, she was miraculously cured. Just imagine what havoc the colostomy could have wreaked on the young girl's future.

Example 4: Tuberculosis

My brother-in-law was diagnosed with third-stage lung cancer and was asked to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy immediately. Fortunately, my other sister advised him to go to Singapore to get a second opinion. The Singapore doctor also initially thought that it was third-stage lung cancer but said he could only confirm the preliminary diagnosis, after doing a biopsy. And the result? Tuberculosis!!! He underwent 6 months of treatment and is now completely healed. Just guess what would have happened if he had listened to the first doctor and went for a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy instead?

Example 5: High blood pressure

Me, I am also a diabetic. Sometime in 2000, I was diagnosed with high-blood pressure, after I felt a tightness at the back of my neck. For one week, the doctor monitored my blood pressure every evening, after work. The reading was consistently between 140-150. After a week, the doctor confirmed that I had high blood pressure and wanted to prescribe me medicine. I asked if I could stop taking the medicine after a month and he said "No, once you start the treatment, you have to take the medicine for life". I refused to take the medicine and decided to try meditation instead, as I had heard that some people were doing. And presto! After a week or so of meditation, the tightness at the back of my neck disappeared. I went to another doctor to check my blood pressure and the results were normal!

You may argue that I was not having high-blood pressure but what if I had listened to the doctor? It's 13 years since, and I would have been taking pills till today, apart from moving around, believing that I am suffering from high-blood pressure! (My blood pressure was around 110+/70+ for many years since then, but has recently gone up slightly to around 120/80.)

I have a few more examples but I trust the above is more than sufficient to convince you that you should not trust your doctor 100%. Always seek a second opinion, if the treatment is going to affect your life drastically, e.g. a major surgery. Also, always seek alternative treatment, if time is not critical and you can delay drastic treatment by a few months. (Obviously if you don't have the luxury of time, you will have to take immediate action as per your doctor's advice.)

Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritical Oath?

Do you know that there is presently no legal obligation for medical students to swear the Hippocratic Oath, upon graduating? The Hippocratic Oath is an oath that was historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals as a promise to practice medicine honestly. Wikipedia says:

"... 98% of American medical students swear some form of oath, while only 50% of British medical students do..... However, the vast majority of oaths or declarations sworn have been heavily modified and modernized."

If the above has not convinced you yet, let me give you a final example. As I had mentioned earlier, I am diabetic. One day, I went to my regular clinic doctor and he asked me which doctor was supervising my diabetic condition. I said that I do self-management. To this, he got angry and asked me: "If everyone starts doing self-management, what do we doctors eat?"

Assuming you can delay a major surgery or other drastic treatment by one month, would you seek a second opinion?

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      yes, i agree with you. My father inlaw went to see a doctor and was told to have 3rd stage lung cancer. My sister inlaw refused to let him go for 2nd opinion. In the end, he died 6 months later without any medication. He would had lived until now if he had went for the 2nd doctor.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Peachpurple, thank you for sharing. My dad was told by a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor that he had a short spleen and was not expected to have a long life. Because that doctor was very famous, my dad believed him and all his planning was very short-term. However, he lived till the age of 83 in 2006. Towards the later years of his life, my dad often expressed regret for believing in that TCM doctor and said that the doctor's prediction had screwed up his whole life.

    • profile image

      EmilyZ 4 years ago

      I believe that it is always wise to seek a second or even third opinion when in doubt. There is a place for orthodox doctors especially in emergency cases like appendicitis and a place for Traditional Chinese Medicine. I tried desensitization procedure for my sinus and it did not work. After years of discomfort and inconvenience, I consulted a TCM practitioner which cured my sinus.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      My sister had great faith in Western-trained doctors and never believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine until her son was almost killed, due to a food allergy. A friend suggested an acupuncturist. Despite her skepticism, she brought her son there out of sheer desperation. Today, she is more open to Alternative Medicine and is a big fan of Acupressure massage techniques.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Someone in Facebook commented about this article: "anecdotal evidence.... real life examples (assuming those are really true examples)".

      Yes, they are true examples! After I wrote the first draft, I went to visit my mum because my elder sister would also be there on a Sunday. What I wanted to do was to double confirm the incidents in my memory... and they came out with several others, especially my mum.

      I told my mum that I cannot add more examples because the article has reached 1,000 words (and I don't want it to be utterly long). Maybe what I would do is to come out with a sequel, if there is great interest. So my mum gave me more details of my neighbor who ate durian and went into a coma.

      During her coma, my neighbor went over to the other world, saw many beautiful houses, and came back. Her diabetes miraculously disappeared and all her white, wiry hair turned black and glossy. She then got into the habit of eating 2 scoops of ice-cream every day. If there was no ice-cream to eat, she would throw tantrums like a kid.

      That's kind of bizarre, right? Diabetes disappearing after a coma and white hair becoming black. Hardly believable, right? Actually, I remembered all these but I didn't want to write it cos readers may ask, "Sure or not? Now, don't give me that baloney." That's why like the proverbial film censors, I used an imaginative scissors and snip that part out.

      What happened to that neighbor now? Two years after she recovered, she died of throat cancer. And while going through the agonizing cancer, she lamented that her children should have let her died easily while in a coma the previous time, instead of making her suffer now.

      For those who wants more details of the examples cited in the above article, I will be pleased to elaborate.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Walter, welcome to hubpages. Great article and a good start to more interesting articles from you. I too love to write on health and fitness and what you had written is so true. Voted up

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Greatstuff, glad to know you... your About Me page is very well-written and very inspiring. I am putting it in Facebook to help inspire more people to join Hubpages. (Don't seem to be able to find the link address to the post but it's in Global Malaysians Network - GMN Australian chapter at https://www.facebook.com/groups/54993882907/ )

      I wrote: "Hi all, read this from Mazlan in Hubpages:

      "Hi, my name is Mazlan. I must confess that since joining HubPages in November 2011, I have been spending most of my free time writing, something that I hardly did before. In fact I just celebrated my 1-year anniversary at Hubpages..."

      http://hubpages.com/@greatstuff

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Thanks Walter. Hope you will succeed to get more good writers to join HP

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      I posted this article in an active local forum for discussion and someone shared something very valuable:

      "Met an old fren last week, she lost 10kg and looked terrible. This is the story. She went to Pantai to remove her appendix, dr made error and cut into her colon by mistake. A large abscess formed that was the size of a fist. During all the follow-ups, my friend kept telling the dr something was not right, she was in pain and that it was not healing. Dr dismissed her concerns and didn't even bother to do a simple white blood cell count that would have immediately detected the issue. My fren parents, both doctors, advised her to come back to Penang. Fed up, she travelled back to Penang to do a follow-up. White blood cell was thru the roof, immediate emergency operation done. Took THREE months to recover. She was on death's door. If she had listened to her dr in KL, she would be dead."

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Walter, thank you for the well written article. You are right about seeking second opinion and listening to what your body tells you. I come from the Philippines and in my country some of us can't afford medicines so we rely on herbal alternatives which can work as well and cheaper alternative to prescribed medicines. Thank you, for the follow.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Liesl5858, in the Philippines, I understand that the doctors merely diagnose and the pharmicists prescribe medicine. In Malaysia, the doctor diagnoses and also prescribes. Previously, they don't charge for diagnosis but lately, the bills are pretty high, so I believe they are charging these days... maybe not as high as when they only diagnose. Since the late 1970s or early 1980s, pharmacists have been fighting to practise the Philippines system for obvious reasons, but the government has not approved it because it would definitely increase health cost.

    • dionm profile image

      Dion. 4 years ago from Somewhere on Earth.

      Hey Walter, thanks for the article. I agree completely with its premise. You need to listen to your body before you accept any one else's advice. I learned this lesson the hard way with my back. These days, I trust in my own intuition. Sure, I take a doctor's advice, but only when it matches my own personal assessment. Keep up the good writing.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Dionm, thanks for dropping by... it's good to hear that your experience confirms mine. I like the part where you said, "Sure, I take a doctor's advice, but only when it matches my own personal assessment. " It sounds very sensible.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      I don't trust them much at all. I had severe pains in my lower abdomen. They were like sharp knives piercing me in the location of my right ovary. I had had an ovarian cyst some years ago. These pains last for 2 weeks before my husband too me to a clinic. They ordered many Ultra Sounds. The tests came back as I had endrometriosis. I then scheduled an appointment with a gynecologist and she told me that I could not have possibly had that as I was post menopausal and have been for more than 10 years. I was very glad to have that second opinion because Endometriosis runs in my family and it requires surgery and I didn't want that again.

      I really think the pains were from old scar tissue. While at the other Dr.'s office they tol me that I would always have a big belly because I, *I* didn't ask about exercises that I could do after my last hernia operation. I was told not to do a thing for 6+weeks. That surgery was about 7 years ago. Too late to do anything now. I was also told that since I did not do anything that I am open to have another hernia. I already had 2 and I don't want anymore. When I was told that, my husband and I just looked at each other and when the PA left the room we both agreed that I am not lifting anything heavy ever again. Ruined my life that is for sure! I am only in my 50's for goodness sakes and I love gardening and moving things around. Makes me mad.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Lady Guinevere, thanks for sharing... don't give up, just yet. There may still be a chance of recovery. Pray to Jesus and wait for an answer.

    • Raitu Disong profile image

      Raitu Disong 3 years ago

      Yes, doctors are not God!

      I would rather cast all my cares unto God!

      Great hub Walter spoon:)

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Raitu Disong, thanks for dropping by. Honestly, I am disillusioned by most doctors these days for trying to get rich quick, especially the private hospitals where their only concern is their bottom line. They would often recommend you the most expensive treatment that they think you can afford, whether it is necessary or not.

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 2 years ago from UK

      In situations where a delay in starting treatment not critical, I would always want to get a second opinion from another doctor, but thank you for the reminder to check out alternative medicine also.

      Wise advice.

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