The placebo effect has been waaaaaayyy overemphasized by MDs and they keep using the notion against patients constantly. But I admit that there are a lot of stupid, suggestible doctor-worshipping patients out there who will believe anything an MD says. They are as much to blame as the miserable collection of very unscientific MDs we have today, because they make it possible for there to be so many of that sort of MD.
Certainly the pronouncing of how long someone has to live has little to do with drug or procedure testing that includes placebos, other than the common notion of physiological response to suggestion, and the crosstalk blathered here adds to the confusion of both. The ethical issues are different. I appears that Majormd makes a reasonable compromise on the issue of life-expectancy announcement.
But in general, MDs filter right down there at the bottom with lawyers in respect to lies and half-truths. I haven’t experienced the life-expectancy-announcement problem in respect to myself or any relative, but I’ve had lies and deceit from MDs on just about every other count.
Once occurred after some standardized physiological testing on me. The Stanford-associated MD tried to steer me away from the problem I had presented with, because he had nothing for it but needed my business. He told me that the test result on total bilirubin could indicate I had cancer. When I said forget it, he said he was writing such into my medical record. I got a copy of the record from his staff later on. Of course, there was no such thing in the record. For kicks, I then complained to his county (San Mateo) medical association to see what kind of garbage they would give me. They said he told me just what he was supposed to have said under the circumstances. Of course, everyone knows that, particularly in CA-US, MDs can do no wrong, because MDs control all the legality of what MDs do. Short of killing off several dozen people with excessive drug prescriptions, they never get cramped in style at all, and the worst they get then is kicked out of the particular state, after which they just set themselves up in another one. And the problem has gone way downhill since I lodged that complaint.
A later MD lie to me, or at least a statement of extremely low fractional truth, came when my mother died under his care. Well, she was then 93 and minor strokes had left her mentality and speech very debilitated, in the context of a so-called congestive heart condition, so the loss didn’t necessarily represent any big failure on his part, or loss of a life that had much meaning, and I and others knew there were better MDs around for someone in my mother’s condition but I had failed to try to get her switched, but. . .when I spoke to him on the phone after her death, he simply said she had died peacefully in her sleep at the hospital, after having been brought there complaining, as she had done before, of inability to breath reasonably. Well, I went down and read the medical record at the hospital. For some reason, that hospital kept a very straight blow-by-blow record. She had tangled with ICU staff, yanking IVs out and whatnot, while calling for my father, who was never informed, and so they had drugged her up and she had died an hour or so later. . .yes, in her sleep. I suspect the manner of handling that sort of patient in an ICU was not at all up to standard, but I can’t claim I know that. What I do know is that that MD is one of about 95% of MDs who just routinely lie. I could give you a dozen other examples.
Ray (And constantly, now, the public is begged by MDs to fight on their side against HMOs – to regain care lost because MDs ran health-care costs into the ground to the point where their racket had to be restrained.)