Testing Treatments: The Authors Respond

In a previous post I criticized the book Testing Treatments. Two of the authors, Paul Glasziou and Iain Chalmers, have responded. I have replied to their response. They did not respond to the main point of my post, which is that the preferences and values of their book — called evidence-based medicine — hinder innovation.

Sure, care about evidence. Of course. But don’t be an evidence snob.

2 Responses to “Testing Treatments: The Authors Respond”

  1. Elizabeth Molin Says:

    To continue our discussion: I have had dealings with superior, arrogant doctors, and doctors who didn’t give a damn, and doctors who were sadists (OB/GYN seems to attract those, both male and female). I am very glad to now have a doctor who actually listens, who can admit she’s wrong, and who is willing to learn.

    The statin episode happened before I was well enough informed to suggest that my husband ask for evidence; I would be pushier now.

    I think our doctor, like most of them, is battling patient expectations. She was delighted (and surprised) that my husband was perfectly willing to make dietary and life-style changes.

    I think many patients come in demanding Celebrex or Lipitor or whatever was advertised on TV last night. I think many more feel that the doctor is not doing his/her job if they don’t come away with at least one prescription.

    At one point our doctor advised me to “take Tylenol or Advil,” and I told her I would not, because of the side effects; if I needed an anti-inflammatory or an OTC painkiller I preferred aspirin.

    She answered at once that of course I was absolutely right; aspirin is much better! But most people nowadays think it’s old-fashioned or has been superseded somehow. So she doesn’t suggest it.

    I guess doctors too get tired of doing the King Canute thing. I’m just glad that I can challenge ours and have a thoughtful, reasoned discussion of what matters to me.

  2. Seth Roberts Says:

    That’s very interesting about how your doctor said “you’re perfectly right” about the aspirin. She sounds conflict adverse.