Fake Treatment

“In the clinical setting, the use of a placebo without the patient’s knowledge may undermine trust, compromise the patient-physician relationship and result in medical harm to the patient…” What’s he babbling on about?

Half of all American doctors responding to a nationwide survey say they regularly prescribe placebos to patients. The results trouble medical ethicists, who say more research is needed to determine whether doctors must deceive patients in order for placebos to work. The most common placebos the American doctors reported using were headache pills and vitamins, but a significant number also reported prescribing antibiotics and sedatives. Although these drugs, contrary to the usual definition of placebos, are not inert, doctors reported using them for their effect on patients’ psyches, not their bodies.

So rather than telling the patient that there is nothing wrong with them, they slip them a low dose antibiotic or headache pill and send them along their merry way, thinking that the doctor is doing something. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this? Am I the only one that just discovered the problem is so huge?


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