Prescription Placebos

Source: – Doctors often dole out placebos to patients

In a recent article, I discovered that many physicians prescribe placebos. The researchers claim that half of the doctors surveyed admitted to prescribing a placebo to a patient at one point.

One of the authors of the study, Rachel Sherman (a medical student), said that this “illustrates that doctors believe expectation and belief have therapeutic potential.”

One part of the article made me wonder… It said that some doctors tell their patients that they are prescribing a placebo (4 percent of doctors surveyed). Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of prescribing a placebo? Maybe these doctors missed that lecture in medical school. Wait, no.. we learn about placebos as early as high school! Why in the world would you tell your patient, “It’s a placebo”?!?

I just find it amusing that doctors prescribe placebo. I suspect that a number of these cases would be for patients, or their parents, who insist on getting some sort of medication even though their physician says they have nothing to worry about.

It makes me wonder if I’ve ever been prescribed a placebo. Although I’ve never insisted on taking something. I don’t think my mom has ever insisted to the doctor that I be prescribed something either.

Personally, I think that the only time I’d be tempted to prescribe a placebo is for an insistent patient. I realize that there are ethical objections to the practice, though.

In a perfect world, maybe there would be no need for informed consent. The patient would have complete trust in the doctor and the doctor would be perfectly competent. Of course, in a perfect world, there would be no need for doctors…

post Air passengers can sue over blood clots

Source: – Judge: Air passengers can sue over blood clots

AirTravelApparently a judge has ruled that passengers can sue airlines over blood clots. The article writes that patients who developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can sue the airline if they were not allowed to move to an empty seat with more leg room.

I realize that a DVT can be fatal. So its not something that should be taken lightly. But this whole thing seems like a bad idea to me. If this case goes in favor of the passengers, will the airlines resort to taking out a few rows and raising airfare to avoid a future lawsuit?

And what about people who love taking advantage of “the system.” I can imagine someone tired of sitting in economy asking the flight attendant if there are any empty seats in the first class cabin because they are at risk for a DVT. And what about if there are 2 at-risk passengers requesting a change of seat and only one seat available? Well, flight attendants are far from qualified to decide which passenger is at a greater risk for developing blood clots.

Theme parks post warnings to visitor who may have heart trouble. Some people just cannot ride roller coasters. I think it should be the same for the airline industry. There are some medical conditions where a physician needs to strongly advise against air travel. Maybe those at risk for a DVT should be advised not to fly. Airlines should do whatever they can to ensure safety for their passengers, but there has to be a limit.