A patient complained the other day that he had seen six different doctors, and received six different opinions about his problem. It’s a frustrating scenario, and not an uncommon complaint.
It’s also not that surprising. The human body is a complex web of physiology and biochemistry. To make it even more challenging, that web changes from individual to individual, and from day to day, depending on our environment or lifestyle choices.
And of course, doctors are only human. We only know what we know, and it’s impossible to know everything. As a result, our opinions are usually based on what we know best. Surgeons tend to cut. Medical doctors tend to drug. Naturopathic doctors tend to supplement. We’re all carrying our own hammers, and seeing most problems as nails.
What Varying Opinions Mean for You
This diversity of opinion, however, is something you can turn to your advantage.
- Listen to all… While not every opinion might be the right answer–in fact, they usually all can’t be–there may be wisdom in many of them that you can put to use.
- ….but be a healthy skeptic. Understand that doctors aren’t perfect, have their own biases, and are working with something incredibly complex. Don’t take anything as gospel truth. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to heed alarm bells in your head, and to remember that, in the end, you get to decide what happens with your care.
- Look for the opinion you want. One friend, when told he was dying and should get his affairs in order, decided instead to get more opinions. Two doctors later he had what he wanted to hear: that he was going to live. And years later, he’s still here…
What we know about the body for sure? It needs good food, clean water, sunshine, exercise, fresh air, a purpose and connection to others. Opinions may differ, but I think that’s one you can take to the bank.