Medical Doctor avoids “physicals” for 23 years


And she wrote about her reasons in the New York Times

After rupturing my Achilles tendon at America’s oldest lawn tennis club on Labor Day of 2010—I went directly to the doctor.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Since learning to take charge of my health in 2003, I too, have not had a single routine physical exam. Oh, I’ve been to the doctor—like back in late 2010 when I completely severed my Achilles tendon while playing tennis on a grass court for the first time in my life.

Fortunately for me, I learned how to take charge of my own health right about the time I discovered that the third leading cause of death in this country was “going to the doctor.” Yep, it’s right up there with cancer and heart disease.

On June 2, Elizabeth Rosenthal, M.D., published an article (See link below) entitled, Let’s (Not) Get Physicals, leading off:

FOR decades, scientific research has shown that annual physical exams — and many of the screening tests that routinely accompany them — are in many ways pointless or (worse) dangerous, because they can lead to unneeded procedures. The last few years have produced a steady stream of new evidence against the utility of popular tests.

Here’s the photo that Dr. Rosenthal used for her article in the Times.

After admitting that she had not had a routine physical herself since 1989, she went on to describe why doctors everywhere continue to conduct them:

“If you ask gynecologists why they still do yearly Pap smears they’ll say things like: Patients expect it; It keeps patients coming back; It’s what we do in an OB-GYN visit.”

In the United States, most doctors and hospitals profit more by doing more, and prices are particularly high for tests and scans.

The Big Picture Cost: Quoting directly from the article; “The United States spends about twice as much per person as other developed countries on health care, generally without better results. A 2009 study of waste in the United States health care system pointed to “unwarranted use of medical care” — unneeded, unproven or redundant diagnosis or treatment — as the biggest single component, accounting for $250 billion to $325 billion a year.”

Readers weigh in. At the end of the article, as of 6-4-12, there were 272 comments and, as you might expect, many were anecdotes that reinforced the need for the annual physical. An example:

During my annual physical, my physician discovered a flutter and problem in my heart. Had I not taken the annual physical, I would not have known and been at risk of a stroke similar to the one that killed my father, grandfather and two uncles.

I’ll play it safe and continue my annual physicals.

J. Morris Hicks, not going to the doctor very often—only when I have a problem.

The Bottom Line. As long as people continue to eat our disease-promoting toxic western diet, it’s probably a good idea to continue getting a routine examination every few years. But once an individual learns how to REALLY take charge of their health with superior nutrition, there are more reasons NOT to get that examination.

Remember the third leading cause of death—going to the doctor—whether for “physicals” or for routine screenings such as colonoscopies, P.S.A. tests or mammograms.

For your convenience, I have included a few of my recent blog posts that are related to this topic—along with a link to the NY Times article:

Handy 3-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
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2 Responses to Medical Doctor avoids “physicals” for 23 years

  1. Nathan says:

    Considering how much a medical care team has to mess up for a death in a hospital to be labelled a “medical error”, I think it might be fair to say that these deaths from “going to the doctor” (225,000 was it in 2009?) could almost be labelled as negligent homicide/3rd degree murder/manslaughter in a non-medical context. Remember, a medical error is basically a lawsuit the hospital/physician lost.The amount of under-repporting in this area is staggering, since if they win the lawsuit, or manage to sweep the truth under the rug before the lawyers get called in, it doesn’t get labelled as an error.

    There will always be anecdotes about things, but anecdotes are not meaningful to the general average person: that’s why they do controlled scientific studies which are meaningful.
    Any study will show that buying lottery tickets is a waste of time and money, because winning is virtually impossible… but you can go interview lottery winners who made millions, it does happen. What that means is that the anecdotes fail to mention that if you win a $1,000,000 in the lottery, that means at least 999,999 “suckers” lost their dollar (I know it’s more complex than that, but I simplified the example). If you give this advice to millions of people (“don’t buy lottery tickets”), those who ignore it, and happen to win at million to one odds will tell you you gave them bad advice, and that you are stupid. However, it will always be the right call statistically over time, to tell people that lottery tickets are a bad investment.

  2. Regarding
    ” I discovered that the third leading cause of death in this country was “going to the doctor.” Yep, it’s right up there with cancer and heart disease.” —

    Two local doctors told me that if the Coroners’ Reports were more honest, this would be the leading cause of death!!!

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