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Secrets Your Doctor Doesn't Want You to Know

Here are some major ones experts told us.

Most of us have a lot of expectations about our doctors; to start with, that they be perfect. Most doctors would be the first to admit that's not the case. But medicine, like many industries, is rife with overwork, economic pressures and dirty little secrets, and there are some elements of the job your doctor would prefer you not know. Here are some major ones experts told us. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


They Might Make Their Decision in Under 20 Seconds

Doctor looking at his watch

"Perhaps the number one secret that doctors do not share with patients is that their training has provided little insight into the cause of illness. Statistically, within 18 seconds of a doctor entering a treatment room to see a patient, he knows what drug he is going to prescribe for whatever you have complained about," says Dr. Michael E. Platt, MD. "For example, if the complaint is insomnia, a hypnotic will be prescribed. If you have low back pain and fatigue, the doctor might prescribe Lyrica, suspecting that you might have fibromyalgia." To get a more considered diagnosis, tell your doctor everything you're experiencing in detail, and ask what to expect from any medication prescribed.


They Don't Have Time to Explain Why

woman with oxygen mask at hospital

"What I know to be true is that there is so much doctors don't share with their patients, because most doctors don't have enough time with their patients," says Lisa Paladino, MS, RN, CNM, IBCLC, a nurse practitioner in women's health care. "One thing doctors don't share due to this time limitation, it's the 'why' of the therapies and medications that they prescribe."

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They Won't Answer, "What Would You Do"?

Doctors in medical masks and gloves

"Doctors often don't feel comfortable sharing their personal decisions with their patients," says Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, FACOG and a medical advisor to ChromaDex. "Oftentimes, doing so might blur the lines between a personal and professional relationship and create a feeling of vulnerability. In more complex and thought-provoking cases, one provider really cannot say 'what he/she would do.'" 

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They Don't Understand Your Insurance Plan—So You Should

Doctor wearing protection mask against covid taking notes during consultation with patient in medical clinic

"Even as a board-certified physician and a graduate of multiple years of medical school and residency, I don't understand insurance plans well and neither do my patients," says Inessa Fishman, MD, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Atlanta. "Many of my patients do not understand concepts like copays and deductibles. Understanding one's health insurance plan—and preparing for a specialist visit by finding out which treatments are covered and which are not—would lead to a more effective and less frustrating experience for a patient at the doctor's office."

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They Know When You're Lying

Doctor working in the office and listening to the patient

"You'd be surprised at how frequently patients come to the ER and decide not to tell us important details pertaining to their case," says Dr. Rachel Shively, MD, an emergency medicine physician and toxicologist practicing in New York. "Plus, we can tell when you're lying. With lying, it is usually because they are embarrassed or nervous that we won't give them the same care if they are upfront about things they do that might be disadvantageous to their health—such as drug use or not being compliant with their medications. Which is totally not true—we certainly don't judge—but is sad. Things like what you took, or the mechanism of your injury, are important things to tell us." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael
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