Yesterday’s Thoughts

June 25, 2005

Anecdotal Information

Surprisingly regularly in conversation with a doctor, they will mention that they know someone — cousin’s seem to be prevalent — who had or almost had a bad outcome because they didn’t do what the doctor is arguing for right now. This someone didn’t go to the hospital, didn’t follow the advice you are being given, didn’t undergo the procedure, etc. This argument is based on anecdotal information.

When your doctor resorts to anecdotal evidence, it is a bad sign.

You can’t argue with an anecdote.

Demand data. It you can’t get data, get a new doctor. If you can’t get a discussion, run. Your doctor is not living in a culture of truth. They have become accustomed to people believing what they say without challenge and they have stopped learning. Whatever the outcome in your case will be filtered through their preconceptions to reinforce their existing opinion.

Press for real data and actual research.

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