Is the doctor always right?

United States
March 4, 2009 3:15pm CST
Do you take what your doctor says as God's word? I don't anymore. I used to until I was misdiagnosed with cervical cancer that ended with surgery two years later. I think it prudent to always question your doctor, and make sure you understand completely the course of action they are prescribing. Remember that your doctor is not infallable. They are human, they have bad days, and they don't know everything; despite what shows like House might have us believe. It's best to develop the raporte early on with your doctor and engage in communication. I can say that when I first visited a new OB/GYN up here after having to switch doctors because of insurance changes I set it from day one that I was going to always ask questions and expect explanations that satisfied my questions. My doctor has been fantastic about taking the extra time to make sure I understand just what is going on. It is the same with my children's doctor. With my children's doctor I always receive a print out or article of what is being spoken about so I fully understand the prescribed course of treatment or action. Have you had any experiences in the area where your doctor was wrong? How did you handle it? Do you feel you have a good relationship with your doctor that you can ask anything you want and question their plan of action? Please, do share your stories.
13 people like this
43 responses
@buggles64 (2713)
• United States
4 Mar 09
Every one is human and prone to mistakes, even doctors. I know doctors have been wrong on several occasions, though I have never personally had a doctor that misdiagnosed anything regarding my health. Doctors attend school for eight years, have an internship, so their mistakes better be few. I don't know that if it would be worth it to be a doctor in this day and age with malpractice suits on the rise.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Mar 09
I'm not sure I agree that just because they go to school for a long time that they should be fully infallable. I think they need to be able to admit that they made the mistake and fix it. I think that is what really bothers me, this attitude that they are never without mistake. Thanks for responding-Anora
2 people like this
• Canada
4 Mar 09
The reason that there are so many misdiagnosis is because health care is a science and not an art. There are not cut and dry answers to most medical issues as people think before they get sick.
2 people like this
@buggles64 (2713)
• United States
7 Mar 09
Yes, Dr.'s are human and they make mistakes. I forgot, as a teenager in school, I was misdiagnosed as having "scabies! when I was actually breaking out in huge hives that didn't even resemble scabies. The best guess that we made was that it was nerves or being allergic to the acid in tomatoes, because I would break out in the fall around canning time. I don't mean to say that Dr.'s can't make mistakes, because we all know that they do. But they are dealing with 'human health' and a simple mistake could cost someone their life.
@p1kef1sh (45696)
4 Mar 09
I don't think that I have ever had a serious enough illness to doubt my doctor. I have several friends who are both GPs and surgeons. As you say, they are human. Like all of us, they get better with experience and practice but there is no way that they can always be right. If in any doubt, seek a second opinion. A good doctor will not take offence. They want you to get better and sometimes someone else will be better placed to give you the correct diagnosis. Also, never trust one that says "let's just pop to the pub for a swift drink". You'll still be there at closing time! LOL.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Mar 09
I knew you'd have something funny to share lol. I know that they are just people, but I think they need to keep in mind they are dealing with people's lives. I know there are great doctors out there, and very few bad ones however it's my life and I only have this one. I'm also in a bit of a mood over it all because of all the trouble my husband is going through the VA (Veteran's Administration) here in the states. He served his country, has a service related disability, and is fighting to get things taken care of. I won't bore you with the details, but it is safe to say we've been through so much in the last three years all from doctors that I can't stand anymore. Blessings-Anora
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45696)
5 Mar 09
I am truly sorry for all the misery that you and your husband are going through. I spend 31 years working with and for the military here. Part of that time was spent with our own Army welfare support. We don't have anything like the same infrastructure that you have. We do have a VA, but it is a bureaucratic white elephant, more of a toothless tiger really. We hide our wounded away in a hospital. The Government is "economical with the truth" about the scale of injured. Ex-Service personnel vie with the rest of the country to get health assistance. A high proportion of former personnel live rough, especially in cities. There is no network of VA hospitals, although serving personnel can get their ingrowing toenails etc fixed preferentially at a number of regional hospitals. Such is the problem that the country's single military rehabilitation centre couldn't afford a swimming pool for medical use. A charity was created to provide it by angry ordinary folk concerned about the apathy and hand wringing of our pathetic Government. In under a year it became one the major military charities, shaming the authorities and raising £8 million to build the pool. Work starts late this year.
1 person likes this
@WATARIKENJI (1534)
• Philippines
4 Mar 09
We had the same experience with our daughter where the doctor just do the normal stuff and did not explain the problem. I felt that time that the said doctor was not competent enough to diagnose our baby. After he suggested that the baby needs some blood test, we looked for another doctor to ask for a second opinion. We got a good diagnosis from the second doctor who explained everything to us.
3 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
I'm glad to hear that you had good news from the second doctor. I hope your daughter is in good health now. Namaste-Anora
2 people like this
@sandymay48 (2031)
• Canada
4 Mar 09
Hello there my friend..I had a whole page written and it deleted. I will try to be shorter this time round. Never ever, take what you are told my any doctor as being the only and right answer. Always question until you are satisfied and understand what is going on. Nobody knows your body better than you do. I write a list of questions before going to see my doctor or specialist. I have learned the hard way that most medical diagnosis are made through a series of tests and guesswork and that most things are not cut and dry. If you do not feel comfortable, seek a second opinion. I hope that I have the life of a cat with 9 lives because I have used up two of them already. After suffering a heart attack, which the hospital staff did not believe I was having, I still did not feel right. My cardiologist said he could find nothing more wrong and in time it would heal.I went and got a second opinion and was glad I did. I had a severely leaking valve in my heart and required open heart surgery. After the surgery, the surgeon had told my family that it was so bad, that I would not have survived much longer. That was experience number one. About a year after that, I got sick again with severe diarrhea. I told my doctor it wasnt right. She prescribed different meds and eventually sent me to a specialist. He continued to prescribe immodium, telling me to keep increasing the dose. I continued to get worse and one day I just felt so rotton, I asked my daughter to take my to the hospital and I wasnt leaving til they figured it out. Well, I had no choice. By the time I got there, my kidneys were in failure, other functions had let go, and I was so weak, I couldnt stand. They could find no pulse and my blood pressure was so low they couldnt read it at all. It turned out I had ulcerative colitis that nearly took my life through dehydration and kidney failure. Please, anyone who thinks they are not feeling right, please seek a second opinion. It could save your life.
• United States
4 Mar 09
Sandy- Oh my!!! I cannot believe that twice they overlooked your symptoms. I'm so very glad that things did turn out for the best, and that you were able to get the care you needed. I'm so in agreement that second opinions are the best option! Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I'm sorry that Mylot decided to delete the first one. Namaste dear friend-Anora
2 people like this
@lovesummer (1162)
• Malaysia
4 Mar 09
i am a gonna be doctor. i can say you are right noboy is perfect. doctor are not god they make mistake too.. but a good doctor try best not to make the mistake..
• United States
4 Mar 09
Congratulations on the career choice. I agree, we're all going to make mistakes. I think if we're aware of that then perhaps we can also work on fixing our mistakes. Namaste-Anora
2 people like this
@ersmommy1 (12595)
• United States
4 Mar 09
It is good to get a second opinion. They are only human after all. And we all make mistakes. So sorry about the misdiagnosis. That had to be rough.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Mar 09
Ersmommy- Thanks for the response. I know we're all human, it's just something that I think where my health is concerned that mistakes sit well with me. Though, I never did go after the doctor-I just didn't have time for a law suit out of state. And not that it would have gained me much. I had a wonderful doctor up here, I've been cancer free for two years now-so I'm happy. Namaste-Anora
2 people like this
@kykidd (6818)
• United States
4 Mar 09
I was misdiagnosed last fall by my doctor who thought I had poison ivy. I didn't think I did, because I have had poison ivy in the past and I am pretty familiar with the way it acts on my body. Two weeks and two prescriptions later, my doctor said, I don't think this is poison ivy....which is what I said on the first visit. Oh well, it was resolved even though I had to pay for medicine and doctor's appointments. I think he did give me a discount the second time which in my opinion should have been free. But it's like I always say, they're just practicing, that's why they call them general practicianers. LOL Glad you are wise enough to speak up and ask questions for your own sake. Have a great day.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Mar 09
Thanks for responding. That's just horrible about the rash. I agree though, I suppose that is why they call it a "practice". I think that if we have to be re-evaluated and new meds are needed that they simply give it to us, especially if it was their miscall in the first place. Of course, insurance, cost, etc are a discussion for another time. Blessings-Anora
2 people like this
@applefreak (3131)
• Singapore
6 Mar 09
well the doctor is certainly not always right. and House is not always available at the local hospital. there are things that we can help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis. it is important to describe our symptoms as closely as possible to the doctor. a stomach pain can mean many things. a stabbing pain is different from a throbbing pain. a dull pain is different from a sharp pain. for me, i'll do my best to describe all my symptoms to my doctor. i'll also read up on the possible disease the symptoms might signify and discuss them with my doctor. this way, i can make an informed decision when the diagnosis is out.
• United States
6 Mar 09
apple- Thanks for the response. Yes, I think one of the common pieces of advise that is coming up as well is that "We know our own body best", and that we need to listen to it. I was just speaking with my husband earlier today about this topic and stating how it's like women and heart attacks. Most women don't even know they are having one because it presents differently and the doctors never teach us what to look for. Thanks for your addition. Anora
2 people like this
• Singapore
6 Mar 09
hi anora, this reminds me of a story i once read. it's a feature article in reader's digest. the article is about women and heart attacks. one part described how men and women went to the emergency room with the exact same symptoms. the men were immediately treated for heart attack while the women were told to wait. turn out some of the men were actually suffering from heart burn while two of the women had an heart attack!
2 people like this
• Indonesia
5 Mar 09
NO WAY ! not a God's word, coz they're not. I havent n i dont wanna experience it, but i have some of relatives that had a bad experiences with doctor's diagnoses..the doc misdiagnosed it, and caused them have to operate a part of their body but instead of makin it better n healthier, it made them worst ! now my aunty have to live her life just in bed, and cant do nothing ! me n my family never put the doc's diagnose as the very right one ! we always looking for a second opinions, therefore we will know which one is the right one or not.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
Wow, that's so sad. I'm so sorry about your Aunty. We had an incident up here in MN where a hospital took out the wrong kidney! The doctor was never held accountable. Thanks for responding-Anora
• Indonesia
9 Mar 09
u're welcome Anora =) its no problem again now, she's healthy although she has to stay on the bed all the time. thats why we provide her a personal nurse. its a good topic Anora, it'll be useful for others..
@wolfaaron (179)
• United States
5 Mar 09
No, everyone makes mistakes
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
I agree that everyone makes mistakes, but this is our life we're talking about. I'm glad you've not had any misfortune with the doctors though. Namaste-Anora
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Mar 09
I know its a life, but there hasnt been a doctor that never made a mistake in his work life or daily life.
2 people like this
@riyasam (16567)
• India
6 Mar 09
i do agree with you,they are not always right.everyone must remember that they are humans and to err is human.they are just telling others what they have learned,it is not right to have blind faith on them,it is always betterto cross-check.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Mar 09
Riya- Thanks for your response. Yes, it never hurts to double check. Better safe then sorry. Blessings-Anora
@sid556 (30987)
• United States
6 Mar 09
Actually Elnora....I had this problem and for the exact same reason as you did. I KNEW something was wrong and I kept questioning them. My Paps were coming back "bad" and they kept reassuring me that it was just a bacterial infection that was common and would clear up on its' own. This was the 2nd time that I had cervical cancer so I knew the signs. Still, I was always relieved afterwards because it was what I wanted to hear, I guess. By the time that I saw another doctor...a specialist...who just happened to be sitting in and observing, it had already began spreading. I, too, had to have surgery. Thankfully it was caught in time!! I learned that in my state that it doesn't matter who you go to for the papsmear. All the doctors sent the paps to a lab where there were only 2 people reading them and they were paid per reading. Beyond the human error factor, of course they were reading them quickly. A man who lost his wife to cervical cancer, fought and changed all that. Like you, I am much more pro-active now. You just can't blindly trust them. Great post and I'm glad you are alright!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Mar 09
Sid- Thanks for sharing. I can't believe how many women are getting cervical cancer! I'm glad they caught yours in time. Many blessings-Anora
@oyenkai (4396)
• Philippines
6 Mar 09
I always try to research about whatever the doctor just said - especially if I'm not familiar with whatever health condition he just mentioned. Or I ask my brother (a nurse) about the stuff I heard the doctor say. This is mostly to satisfy my curiosity :) Thanks for the response on my discussion!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Mar 09
That's great that you have someone you can ask. My husband works in a hospital so I ask him a great deal. Like for example my daughter is having surgery next week and he made sure that she'd be first case. Thanks for responding-Anora
@savypat (20244)
• United States
5 Mar 09
God is not printed on my Doctor or any other Doctor I have seen over the years. I respect the man and value his opinion but I always ask questions and I always look on the internet. I learned this many years ago when I first left the care of my childhood doctor. I used him to deliver all 3 of my children and to treat the whole family for many years. I was awakened to that fact that he left much to be desired when I had my first pelvic exam from an OB/GYN and it didn't cause me any pain. The previous guy was just to darn rough. From then on I knew Docotrs were just as human as the rest of us.
@xbrendax (2667)
• United States
5 Mar 09
NO! All people in authority, such as doctors, nurses, teachers, vets, police, etc. etc., are NOT always right! They may know a lot about what they speek but they are only human and can and DO make mistakes! It has never happened to me but I've heard it happens to a lot of people out there.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
Thanks for sharing Brenda. It is definately sad that it happens more then it should though. Anora
1 person likes this
• Philippines
5 Mar 09
hmm..doctors aren't always right..:) they do commit mistakes.. if you are not certain of what you are diagnosed with you can always have an alternative opinion and if they match then that must be the problem you have to deal with :)
• United States
5 Mar 09
Thanks for sharing. I definately think that cross checking things is a good idea. Anora
1 person likes this
@Barbietre (1439)
• United States
5 Mar 09
First of all not all doctors graduate at the top of their class or even from a good med school. Second things in medicine change rapidly and not all fo them stay current. I have as many degrees as a doctor and also know more about correctly conducted research thasn the average doctor does. So before I go tomy dr. I do my own research and then when I do go we discuss things as equals. That is the way it should be. Besides we all know our own bodies better than anyone else.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
Barbie- I'm making more use of my computer these days as well. I feel that I need to fully understand what's being done, what it's all about, but also what may be a natural alternative. Thanks for the response. Anora
@jenisky (406)
• Philippines
5 Mar 09
hello, i don't think there are doctors who wants to harm their patient..though they are not always right because they are just human like as and they commit mistakes.but i hope they will be extra careful and cautious on handling their patients because its our lives that they are treating.have a nice day anora
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
Jenisky- I can only hope that doctors will continue to learn this lesson as they work with people's lives. Namaste-Anora
• China
5 Mar 09
Yes,I agree with you.And I think the misdiagnosing has many reasons.Lacking of experience to the doctor can be a reason.And sometime,the same disease happened to different people with different body condition,the results may different. My father was diagnosed to have serious hear disease,and the doctor said to us that about this kind of disease,he could live at most 2 years.What a pity!But my father told us then:it doesn't matter for him at all. I don't know the reason,but till now,ten yeas goes by ,my father is very well! That's all I want to share with you.Happy mylotting.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
Candy- Thanks for the response. Oh, if only doctors would realize that every person is different!! Ok I know most know, but some you just want to shake it into them. Anora
@cindyhxf (1447)
• China
5 Mar 09
I think the professional ethics of Doctor is very important.doctor should be responsible much for patients.most doctors are professional i think,but few are selfish just for money not really work for patients.i knew some cheat patients cooperate with hosipital.anyway,maybe some wrong systems give them chance to rob from patients.doctor always is a respect job for people.don't let bad things destroy people's trust.
2 people like this
• United States
5 Mar 09
Cindy- Thanks for the response. Yes, trust is such an important thing and once lost it is very difficult to gain back. Anora