Pity the poor Emergency Department physician who first studied the results of my cardiac diagnostic tests. Despite my textbook heart attack symptoms of central chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm, all of my test results that day appeared to be “normal”. So instead of admitting this puzzling discrepancy, the doc seized upon an alternative hypothesis as he pronounced confidently to me:
“You are in the right demographic for acid reflux!”
I was sent home from hospital that morning (feeling very embarrassed about having made a fuss over nothing) with his directions to make a follow-up appointment with my family physician to get a prescription for antacid drugs (to treat what turned out to be a misdiagnosis of indigestion).
Part of the problem with this scenario is the reluctance of some physicians to admit that they just do not know. Continue reading “When doctors can’t say: “I don’t know””