Just What The Doctor Ordered - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Just What The Doctor Ordered

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A recent study confirms what many of us already know. Doctors are human, they're not infallible and they don't always give the best medical advice. Take the case of Jonathan Stelly. You may not know him but the 22 year old semi-pro baseball player had a real shot at making the big leagues. However, he had been plagued by fainting spells. He went to his cardiologist for tests and later got a call with shocking news. If he wanted to live to see 30 years old he would have to get a pacemaker. Stelly knew it would be the end of his baseball dream but he trusted the doctor and got the operation. Months later he found out his cardiologist was being investigated for performing unnecessary surgeries. Stelly went to three other doctors after that and every one of them agreed that he needed blood pressure medication but he never needed a pacemaker.

This is a pretty extreme case but, according to a recent study by USA TODAY, which reported the Stelly story, tens of thousands of times a year patients are operated on, getting surgeries that are totally unnecessary. The study says unnecessary operations may account for as many as 20% of surgeries in some specialties. How does this happen? Whether doctors are doing it to protect themselves from possible malpractice suits later on or to personally enrich themselves, it is apparently a huge problem that ends up costing all of us in the form of higher insurance premiums and government dollars being wasted on unnecessary procedures, instead of being spent on legitimate medical care. And to make matters worse, the federal government does not currently require hospitals to keep track of such surgeries.

Bottom line: when it comes to your health, nobody is going to care as much about you as you do. If you're told you need surgery for anything, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion and maybe even a third or fourth. The fact of the matter is, what the doctor orders is not necessarily something you need.

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