Patients prefer anecdotes
The medical world thrives on evidence based medicine. The numbers and the large studies make the medicine we practice seem safer, but what effect does this have on our patients?
“They're antibiotics. You're supposed to finish the whole thing.”
“That's stupid. If you feel better, stop taking it. You're just making your body weaker.”
Shortly after finishing an entire course of antibiotics, my brother's stomach “blew up.” That was not pleasant, and the next time he took antibiotics, years later, he stopped after three days. I told him about the weak bugs and the strong bugs, but his mind was made up: finishing your antibiotics was stupid.
I had my first flu shot in the first year at medical school. I was the only person in my house to get the shot and the only person to get flu that winter. Unlike in my brother's case, however, I was aware