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!”