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What happens when you suffer from unnecessary surgery?

As a patient, you want to know that the medical care you receive is accurate and necessary. If you found out that you had an operation you didn't need just because a provider thought it would help, you'd be furious. It's a necessity that medical providers know their fields well and the different treatment options open to you.

Take for example the stories of two different men. One had chest pain, so it was suggested that he receive a stent. Another doctor gave him some alternative treatment options, including cholesterol-lowering medications and diet suggestions, and he ended up not needing the surgery. Is it really right for the first doctor to jump to surgery as the only solution?

In another case, a man who needed surgery was unable to get it because of a previous surgery he didn't even need. He was misdiagnosed as having a problem with his heart when it was actually his lungs causing him to struggle to breathe. The medications he took for his heart made it impossible to undergo surgery, resulting in his death. Did jumping to conclusions lead to his death? It's unclear, but the previous surgery did play a role.

It's important that your medical provider pays attention to your needs and what you want. If you prefer natural treatment methods, your provider should consider them, too. It's unfair for patients to undergo surgeries they don't need under the guise that they're necessary. If that happens to you, you could be a victim of malpractice or medical fraud, especially if you felt you had no choice but to go through with an invasive procedure.

Source: The Atlantic, "When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes," David Epstein, accessed March 23, 2017

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