Medical Studies

What questions should you ask your doctor?

Last night I saw an encore presentation of an interview with Jerome Groopman on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I have written posts in the past about Dr. Groopman (see 16 March 2007). Dr. Groopman notes that doctors often misdiagnose patients. Physicians are often anchored to a prior belief and have trouble changing their diagnosis even when new evidence appears. Dr. Groopman advises that there are three important questions that patients should ask their physicians after they receive a diagnosis:

  1. What else could it be?
  2. Could two things be going on at once?
  3. Have you found anything–any laboratory test, or X-ray, or physical finding–that isn’t in sync with your presumption…that contradicts what seems to be the diagnosis.

The full interview is available on YouTube: part 1, part 2.