4 Medical Secrets Doctors Don’t Tell Their Patients

Your doctor may not be giving you the full scoop. Here's what they're not telling you.

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Your doctor will try to be completely honest with you when it comes to your health, medications you may be taking, and other facts about your overall well-being. There are some health-related issues, however, that your doctor may not tell you. Here are some facts that your doctor could be concealing from you.

1. Your doctor likely knows little about health insurance or the cost of treatment.

It’s no secret that doctors are experts in medicine and the physiology of the body. While they might have some idea about the billing aspect of health care, they likely know little more than you do.

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There are entire programs dedicated to teaching students about proper medical coding and billing because determining the cost of treatment can become very complicated. Combine that with the fact that your insurance company never pays full price for treatment and instead has worked out agreements with health care organizations in your state for various costs, and the whole thing becomes almost impossible to decipher.

2. About one in 20 cancer diagnoses made by a primary care doctor are incorrect.

Primary care doctors have an incredibly difficult job. Instead of specializing in just one part of the body, they focus on the entire thing. They also see an incredibly large volume of patients every day. This makes errors relatively common, even among the most dedicated primary care physicians.

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Because they are under pressure to see so many patients, primary care doctors can fall victim to heuristics or the act of making mental shortcuts in a rushed situation. They have to make important decisions based on probabilities and likely outcomes.

While they are often correct, these doctors are still human beings who can also make mistakes by rushing through an exam. Experts suggest asking questions like, “If it’s not cancer, what could it otherwise be?” This will force your doctor to slow down and think critically.

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3. Emergency rooms make more mistakes on the weekends.

If you have to go to the emergency room on the weekend, you are more likely to run into complications or problems, especially if you have a chronic condition. That’s not because the volume of patients is higher, it’s because the number of health care workers is lower.

Doctors and nurses are just like the rest of us: they want weekends off to spend time with their family members and friends. The more experienced staff gets to pick their hours and often chooses to be off on the weekends. This results in less experienced workers seeing patients on the weekends, and lower numbers overall. This inexperience makes it more likely that they will overlook something important when it comes to your condition.

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4. There are safer times to get elective surgeries.

If you feel the need to undergo elective surgery, you should try to avoid scheduling it on the weekend. Just like the emergency room, the more experienced surgeons tend to have the weekends off. This results in a two percent higher mortality rate in patients going under the knife on the weekend.

If you are undergoing elective surgery, talk to your doctor about his or her preferred time to perform the surgery. This can ensure you’re getting the experienced hand you trust and not some other doctor that you’ve never met.

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