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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

The Annual Medical Exam

An article in The Wall Street Journal ("The Case Against an Annual Physical"/Feb. 19, 2024) aroused several thoughts.

The basic problem is that many illness are caused by lifestyle issues that doctors are loathe to address and patients are loathe to hear and usually ignore. A nurse told me that 90% of the patients in her hospital were over 300lbs. and ignored medical advice about diet. Another basic problem is that doctors are paid by procedure and not giving advice so which do you expect gains priority?


Having fortunately been healthy, I once told a physician that I didn't think I could get a chronic illness and she responded, "That's a good delusion. Keep it," which is true. But invasive unneeded tests can be dangerous. Read, "Should I Be Tested For Cancer? Maybe Not And Here's Why" by H. Gilbert Welch, M.D., M.P.H. A noted book that I bought five copies for relatives.


The skill of a doctor is critical too. I've Twittered that Americans are in far greater danger of being killed by their family doctor than a terrorist. One more thing: drug companies tend to exaggerate the purported benefits and downplay the potential side-effects of their wares. Nuff said.

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