How do you know if you can trust your doctor?

by (15380) Updated October 05, 2013 at 11:34 PM Created March 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM

This question has two parts.

Part 1.

Before getting sick, I used to pick doctors by word of mouth from the friends I trusted.

Now, after seeing a bunch of doctors who told me things that were very mainstream but completely bogus (i.e. you cannot live without wheat, etc. etc.) I have become really disillusioned.

It is not that I just distrust them or think of them as ignoramus (and I do), it is I just hate them with passion. However, I still have some health problems that I need to address and I just cannot find a "normal" doctor who would actually be helpful.

Hence my questions:

  1. Have you ever met normal doctors you could trust if you had a serious health issue?
  2. How do you know when to trust and when not to trust a doctor?
  3. Have you ever tried a non-traditional approach? How did it work for you?


Part 2

The reason why I am asking is, even though I promised myself to never go to another doctor, I went to one today. My best friend actually arranged the appointment for me - her husband has been seeing this doctor for over ten years. He trusts her entirely and she even diagnosed some problems two years prior to his mainstream doctor.

So I went to this doctor. All the traditional doctors could not find anything wrong with me (except for some minor things). This doctor is very non-traditional. Not only she believes in Tibetan herbs and Chinese medicine, she used some strange-looking machine hooked up to a computer to run a diagnostic test on me.

I asked her what it was and she told me it was a device invented by a Nazi doctor who worked in Auschwitz. She also told me that many secret military doctors use it (yes, I am not making it up. I actually thought I was on Candid camera show, at least till she told me to strip down). The scariest part of it was when I came home and looked the information up on the internet and yes, this machine was really invented by a Nazi doctor.

So, according to her, I have like tons of minor and a couple of major problems. She wants me to do an MRI, three ultrasounds, take two shots per day for 21 days (B-vitamins and some other things), take oodles of medicine and even a dewormer!

So... I don't even know where to start. I don't mind the ultrasound and even the shots... but a dewormer... I am not sure anymore.

What would you do?

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14507 · March 29, 2013 at 7:15 PM

My thoughts on mainstream medicine (my father is an anesthesiologist). It is great for acute trauma and for surgical procedures. It is not great, nor was it originally intended to be used as a long term crutch. That's not what hospitals and doctors are there for. That's not healthy for the individual or for tax payers.

"Mainstream" medical doctors are great at treating symptoms, but usually treating a problem is not current practice because either (a) the medical field does not know of a cure for the underlying problem or (b) because a "cure" for the underlying problem is out of their hands. Meaning, it's up to fate or efforts taken on by the patient that is ill (usually involving lifestyle changes).

If it is (a), well then that's tough, and there's plenty of research going on always. If it is (b) it shouldn't be the doctor's job to tell you how to live your personal life when a cure is out of their power. It's up to you to figure it out or make do. That sounds tough but it's not. It's just called personal responsibility and accountability. People don't like that because they like blaming "the govt" or "the doctors" or "the mainstream" for their problems. No third party is responsible for our problems. Unless, of course, it was force. But, the govt and mainstream and doctors aren't forcing anyone to do anything besides pay taxes. the rest are just incentives.

I wouldn't trust a doctor to give me diet advice. I wouldn't trust this because that's not their specialty. I hope you weren't going to a doctor for nutrition advice.\

I've had doctors before. I have doctors now. Do I trust them? Absolutely. I trust them to do their jobs. Their jobs are not to be on the cutting edge in nutrition or fitness. Their jobs are to diagnose (if there is even something to diagnose) and/or treat symptoms, and sometimes "cure," but even then cures typically involve some patient effort.

My first doctor's was an obstetrician. he did a good job of delivering me. My second doctor was my pediatrician, Dr. Norton. He did a great job of weighing me at chek ups, and taking my blood pressure, temp. and pulse. He did a good job of diagnosing me with anorexia as well. He diagnosed dangerously high liver enzymes, and after running every test known to man (I even insisted on a liver biopsy, which they gave to me even though they already knew the problem). they decided I needed to eat more, and sure enough enzymes normailzed. I saw a total of 3 different Psychiatrists while I was in hospitals for a total of 3 times. I trusted them that they would provide an accurate diagnosis, and make sure that I am ready to leave the hospital (as long as I'm being totally forthcoming with them and giving them accurate information). I also had 3 different nutritionists. I trusted that they knew that I needed to eat more calories and a more balanced diet, with a protein, a vegetable, and a "complex carb" (that's what they called them) at every meal. And 2 blocks of protein, fat, and carb combination at snacks (3x per day). Did they "cure" me? Hell no. I cured me. I also didn't cure, but in the end (so far) I cured me. They offered relief, I took it.

I now have a GI doctor, who I first saw like 2.5 years ago after reading too much paleo fear mongering and deciding for myself that I was sick. I then got a new general physician, who told me i need to relax and came up with no diagnoses and ran elaborate labs that confirmed me to be in "perfect health." Of course, this couldn't be though, because I was eating oatmeal and didn't eat large amounts of saturated fat. How could this be? In other words, it was all in my head. I ended up just snapping myself out of it and stopped reading that crap. Not surprisingly, I got "better." Not saying that's the case for you- that it's in your head- but it could be.

I now see a general physician just to get Bi-annual blood work done, more for curiosity than anything else. That's all my medical history.

26354 · March 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM

  1. Yes. I have never seen a doctor twice if I didn't trust them. I have only had four doctors in my life. One until I was 20, one right out of school, one when I moved home who I didn't trust, and my current doctor.

  2. I knew I could trust my current doctor when I went to him after 8 years of allergy shots and he said, "Well that shit's not working let's try something else". Then in 6 months under his treatment my inflammation in my chest dropped to normal levels and my lung capcaity went from 20% (lowest measurement on the methacholine challenge) to 75% -- well into the normal range. Secondly, when I approached him about going to primal, he bought and read the primal blueprint and provided me with a list of concerns, backed by peer-reviewed articles, on Mark Sisson's interpretation of science. And said, "If you want to do this, I will work with you." -- he is now moving towards a primal style of eating, just incorporates legumes. -- That's trust.

  3. Couple of times. I saw zero benefit from any alternative forms. Grant it I used more physical remedies -- chiropractors, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massages, etc.

1230 · March 30, 2013 at 3:50 AM

I've learned to never trust any single doctor in terms of opinion (as separate from personal trust of character). I don't partly because I've now seen who from my elementary, JHS, and HS have gone on to medical school. And while not a bad lot, I would not trust them to necessarily get a non-obvious diagnosis right on the first try. Actually, I'd trust them to make many mistakes, as seen of the profession in general. Most doctors seem to be second rate minds, with only a few first raters mixed in.

From the doctor's perspective, it's also probably very difficult to diagnose an idiosyncratic disorder that a walk-in has. If you look in medical books, generic complaints such as lethargy can be caused by hundreds of things. To be fair, in such cases they can't be expected to have any idea without case history and lab tests.

1981 · March 30, 2013 at 2:51 AM

It sounds like she was talking about Vega testing, which is absolute nonsense. Here's a link to an explanation of why it's nonsense: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/13926/

7989 · March 29, 2013 at 10:22 PM

The best doctors I've had are doctors who are collaborative. They listen to me, hear my concerns, talk to me about options rather than dictate treatment approaches, can discuss the pros and cons with me, aren't hide-bound to traditional medical approaches but willing to think "outside the box" when the situation calls for it, they are willing to be my partner in health care, not the egotistical "big shot", and they don't make me feel like I'm getting the bum's rush every time I'm in their office (I try to be respectful of their time constraints as well).

Sometimes I may have difference of opinion with my doctor, but if he gives me the respect due, I will give him the benefit of the doubt as well.

2094 · March 29, 2013 at 9:08 PM

I am in no way saying you or anyone else around here has hypochondria as i dont know anything about you or your issues. But i just wanted to say that the healthiest, happiest, and least likely to even catch a cold, kinda people i know, are those who dont worry and fret about every symptom, ache and pain. In fact they rarely if ever see doctors at all.


Thanks to the Internet, becoming a hypochondriac is much easier than it used to be.

"The easy availability of health information on the web has certainly helped countless people make educated decisions about their health and medical treatment, but it can be disastrous for people who are likely to worry. Hypochondriacs researching an illness used to have to scour books and ask doctors for information. Now a universe of information is available with a few mouse clicks."

Barsky and Fallon say hypochondria often breeds suspicion and distrust between a sufferer and his or her physician. Some doctors may be too quick to dismiss the worries of hypochondriacs, and hypochondriacs are likely to ruin relationships with good physicians by second-guessing them from the start.

Hypochondriacs may "get suspicious when their doctor doesn't give them a referral or a test they ask for," says Fallon. "They can feel like they're not being listened to, and so they'll go shopping for another doctor and wind up repeating the process."

We have information overload these days and everywhere we turn we're getting advised and warned to do this or that and dont eat this or dont eat that..etc. Its enough to drive anyone crazy and orthorexia is so prevalent we needed to coin a word to describe it.

I personally know of a hypochondriac (my friends older sister ) and all she does is read on the internet day and night and self-diagnose her perceived symptoms. Shes thought she had MS, parkinsons, Fibromyalgia and various other rare diseases and illnesses that ive never even heard of. She wont go outside in the daylight anymore cuz her gramma had skin cancer, and shes irish, and fair skinned, and deathly afraid of melanoma now. Its a pretty sad case. Shes becoming more and more recluse and mentally unstable as a result of all of this.

Anyway i know what youre saying about distrust in doctors. I do beleive there are good ones out there though. I am a big believer in naturapaths (With an M.D.) as well. If you can afford seeing someone like this they might be able to aleviate your symptoms and possibly even find a cause.


2483 · March 29, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Not a sure sign of trustworthiness but a good sign would be if a doctor asks you very pointed questions about your diet ... and not just the usual fluff about low fat, eat veggies and cut down on sweets. Although I do have an autoimmune disease (psoriasis) and have suffered from digestive woes over the years not one doctor has asked me about my diet ... ever! Okay, I am not overweight and I am in shape. Yet if a doctor does not see any sort of profound connection between one's diet and chronic disease then, well, move on to another doctor. Any doctor who is willing to seek out a dietary cause instead of medicating to treat symptoms would be golden in my book. Unfortunately I have yet to find such a doctor.


0 · October 05, 2013 at 11:34 PM

1. No. I know the day I finish medical school will be it for me too. As it is now, I'm only sketchy at best.

2. No, we are all ignoramus. So much so, it's not even ignoramus to hold that belief.

3. The fact that your traditional doctor only found "some minor things" wrong with you, and the non-traditionalist found "like tons of minor and a few major problems" wrong with you is concerning. Clearly the traditional doctor couldn't even find all the problems to begin with. I think it's apparent deworming yourself and the nazi machine are the best choice.

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