As I’ve been thinking and writing about dangerous and expensive BS in healthcare, I’ve come to see that the skills and attitudes necessary to protect yourself and your family fall into four dimensions.
- See like a skeptic: The first step is to change the way you see the world of healthcare and healthcare products. Once you realize that many people are trying to fool you for their own benefit it is a small step to recognize the many tell-tale signs of BS. If you want to go deeper you can take the next step to –>
- Think like a scientist: Now that you are able to see through the superficial and flashy hype of BS you can start thinking critically about research studies. Importantly you can determine for yourself what the evidence actually supports and whether it makes sense for you to pursue a certain product, therapy or test to meet your health goals. Part of this will involve being able to work with trusted healthcare providers which means you must learn to –>
- Talk like a doctor: Our healthcare system is complicated and often seems to be set up for the convenience of everyone but the patient. Healthcare providers are able to get better care when they are in the role of patient because they know who to talk to, what questions to ask, and how to make their values and priorities known to the system. Even when you know the basic rules of talking like a doctor, it can be difficult to make your voice heard. To do so, you must muster the courage to –>
- Stand like a hero: From the days of shamans, the rituals of medicine have involved the attribution of magical powers to some and the denial of similar powers in others. While some degree of authority and expertise may be earned, much of it is simply assumed and reinforced by the rules and rituals of our healthcare system. To challenge this authority, even simply as the most accurate reporter of what is happening in your body, can be daunting (see this recent New York Times article on Medical Gaslighting). To question the rulings of insurance companies and hospitals can be draining. To do so takes courage and grit. It also helps to take the radical view that you are the leading expert on your own experience and the radical stance that your health and wellbeing matter more than the rules and expectations of our healthcare system.
If you can master these attributes you will not reverse aging, cure cancer or balance ions in your body. Instead, you will be better able to recognize dangerous and expensive BS and advocate for the health of yourself and your family—the benefits of which may include saving precious time and money, avoiding dangerous and even life-threatening treatments, and making decisions based on reality rather than fantasy. Moving forward, I will organize my BS blogs (and re-organize past blogs) to connect to these attributes and to help you build the mindset, skillset and toolset to master BS avoidance.