Informed Patient: how do you know?
A couple of years ago I suffered many sleepless nights owing to some excruciating pain in my stomach area. After about three months of misdiagnosis, I was referred for an ultrasound scan that showed damage to my gall bladder. The consultant packed me off with some OTC remdies and told me that the offending organ would have to be removed if the symptoms persisted. Another sleepless night gave me time do some Internet research and as a consequence I asked my GP for some antibiotics as a last resort. Within a week of taking them the pain was gone.
Nowadays, people have a marvellous knowledge base of information on the Web and they should use to it to challenge experts, including medical practitioners. The Sense About Science organisation seems to agree and has launched an ask for evidence campaign.
I strongly believe that the best person to look after your health is you. Moreover, by being an informed customer you will also play a part in changing healthcare delivery to meet the needs of the 21st Century. So, as Sense About Science recommends, always be ready to ask the experts: 'How do you know?'