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Should You Trust Your Doctor?

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Should you trust your doctor? The short answer: no, absolutely not. Now, I'm generalizing. I'm referring to the sorts of doctors that are in the mainstream. These are the primary care physicians, internists and specialists who work in hospitals, are in everyday practice.

There are certainly integrative health practitioners, chiropractors, functional medicine doctors and similar practitioners who have made it their business to practice health, not just health care. I'm not really referring to those people.

I'm referring to the mainstream medical doctors of the sort you encounter in an emergency room or an operating room or hospital floors. I would not trust my colleagues. I practiced medicine for 25 years. I did 17 years of education and training to practice cardiology. And so, I saw a lot in those years. I can tell you that the majority of interactions that my colleagues have with patients put business first and foremost. Business and money, revenue and profit, are virtually always at the top of the list of concerns … and then your welfare.

Screen Text: Healthcare is a business
So you often don't know when a decision is being made for the sake of increased revenue, increased profit — I'll tell you, it is incredibly common for a doctor to recommend a procedure for their personal gain. It could be a cardiac catheterization, or an angioplasty. It could be an MRI. It could be elective hip replacement; whatever. Part of that decision is almost always personal gain.

Now that personal game may not be direct. It may not just be a physician's fee — a procedural fee. It could be the hospital system that this doctor works for, because that's how things work nowadays — most physicians are employees of either a large group, or a system, a hospital system.

And the system tells the doctor “Doctor, the more revenue you generate, the larger your end of quarter bonus, okay?.” That motivates the doctor to churn out more MRIs, neurology consultations, tilt table studies, heart catheterizations, lumbar taps — all kinds of testing, to increase revenue, because his end of quarter bonus could be very hefty. It could be $50,000 or something along those lines. So there's tremendous motivation to squeeze you for your insurance money.

This is not always true, but it is largely true. So if a doctor tells you, you need some procedure, you want to grill the heck out of this doctor for the reasons why, what alternatives are there, what happens if I don't? And always consider another opinion.

Screen Text: Willful ignorance
Another reason why you shouldn't trust most doctors is because they practice, very enthusiastically, willful ignorance. That is, they will become educated in the procedures and activities that yield revenues, profit for themselves, for their systems. They will willfully be ignorant about things that don't lead them down that path.

Nutrition: if you want to encounter ignorance in nutrition, go to your primary care doctor, or your gastroenterologist, or your cardiologist, or your ophthalmologist. You will encounter complete ignorance. They may echo what the Heart Association, or the American Diabetes Association, or what the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics tell them — you know, those organizations that take big donations from industry; those organizations.

So there's willful ignorance of the things that do not generate revenue and profit, like nutrition, nutritional supplements. Why are doctors so inept, for instance, in managing something so simple, but crucial for health, like vitamin D, or iodine? They say outrageously incorrect things like “There's no need to take iodine”, even though we know a large portion of the population (we know this from National Institutes of Health data) — a large segment of the population is now iodine deficient, because they're using less iodized salt.

So the doctor is willfully ignorant of many many aspects of your health. When you get an opinion from a doctor, you're talking to somebody who chose only to seek out, to understand, to deliver, revenue-generating activities and procedures — even when simple inexpensive natural methods are already available, accessible, and maybe free, or right in your kitchen, or right at the health food store, someplace very accessible to you. You can't trust them, because they put business first, more often than not, and two, they practice willful ignorance, and will not be aware of all those other things that you could do, you could incorporate for your health.

So what do you do? Well, you find one practitioner you can trust. You may have to see six, seven, eight, to find one. By the way, do not use those lists or ranks you see in newspapers and magazines, because that's how they game the system. Those ratings, those rankings, are virtually always paid for by the practitioners, or more commonly, the healthcare systems. Typically, for instance, let's say there's gonna be a Top Doctors in Whatever City. What the hospitals do, is they insist that all their employees (the nurses, nurses aides, the pharmacists, everybody in the hospital) write the doctors who work in that system. The system is easily gamed, easily manipulated, in favor of the systems, or the doctors or the practitioners who know how to use the system. Do not use those silly dopey rankings or lists because there are too many tricks going on, too many shenanigans going on, to manipulate the system.

I've seen this happen: some of the finest practitioners, who are upstanding, who put health first, are aware of the full scope of things, are available in a certain area of health, aren't even listed. That's because they don't have a system, often, or don't know how to organize people to game the system. So don't pay attention to those rankings.

But find one practitioner. You know, the old fashioned way still works — asking friends, neighbors, acquaintances, who they use. All you need to do is find one practitioner who is honest, takes an interest in your health; not just the bottom line. You can almost always kind of judge who that is, right, by the way they talk, by the way they look you in the eye, how much time they spend with you, where they actually understand your issues, where they listen to your questions, where they consider questions you ask — don't just blow you off. Find that one practitioner and that one practitioner will virtually always already know of a network of like-minded practitioners.

So maybe you start with a gynecologist, for instance, who you have learned to trust, and this gynecologist is willing to talk about bioidentical hormones, and nutrition, and not following general guidelines that are stupid (like some of the guidelines for during pregnancy and breastfeeding). Bet that gynecologist probably knows a good primary care doctor, probably knows a good general surgeon, probably knows good gastroenterologist. So all you need to do is identify just one practitioner, and then you've likely opened the door for numerous like-minded practitioners.

Look for those occasional gems. They're out there. But do not just accept the word of any everyday doctor because he or she says do this or do that — always question, always doubt, never take the first answer, ok. Then find that one practitioner you can trust.

Screen Text: Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed you and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor
This is why I wrote the book Undoctored. I wrote it because I knew that people could not trust the health care system any longer; it's too corrupt, it's too predatory, it's too exploitative. But beyond that, you know what, you are capable of achieving astounding things in health. But it won't come from your doctor, and the health you can achieve on your own is not almost-as-good-as the health you get from the doctor. The health you can achieve on your own, given some basic tools, is dramatically superior to the health you'd get from your doctor.