Posted 3/17/12 on Cracking Health Costs
A huge medical ethics divide exists today among doctors.
In one camp, the ethic is that if a treatment may help someone, let’s do it. This is the prevailing medical ethic in the US. This sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
However, there is a higher medical ethic practiced by only about 5% of doctors in the US today. The higher ethic calls for doctors to work with the patient to determine the desired outcome, then use the safest and least invasive treatment to achieve that desired outcome. If doctors would follow this higher ethic, we could eliminate a huge amount to back and heart surgery and billion and billions of wasted dollars. Further, fewer patients would be harmed by unneeded surgery.
Which ethic do you want? The one that uses surgery when non-invasive treatment will get the same result? What informed patient would make that choice?
Do you want (1) evidence-based medical care? Or (2) one doctors opinion? I’ll take option 1 every time.
In Reason.com Dr. Jeffery Singer has written an opinion contrary to mine. If you care to read it click here. He writes, “For centuries, my predecessors and I have been inculcated with what has come to be called the ‘Hippocratic Ethic.’ This tradition holds that I am ethically required to use the best of my knowledge to recommend to my patient what I consider to be in my patient’s best interests—without regard to the interests of the third-party payer, or the government, or anyone else.” [Italics mine.]
The problem is for many doctors today their “best knowledge” falls woefully short of science-based medicine.