Sunday, April 16, 2017

More Perils of Common Sense

Fifteen years ago, I broke my leg. After I recovered, the doctor ordered a bone scan that revealed osteoporosis. That’s more frequent in women, but anyone skinny and elderly is at risk.

I began taking a drug for osteoporosis. Every year, I had another bone scan. Sometimes it showed a little improvement, sometimes a little deterioration. After ten years of not much change and a few different drugs, I grew discouraged.

“It looks like this isn’t working,” I said.

The doctor could have been honest (“these drugs usually help, but sometimes they don’t; we’re doing our best”) but instead I heard –

“If you hadn’t taken them, you’d be worse.”

That’s common sense. As I write regularly, if you hear common sense from a doctor it means he doesn’t understand what’s going on. 

It’s no different from the famous ad for a quack remedy: “Cures all but the incurable!”

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