This had to be done... There aren't enough cynics around

Medical Myths

The Medical Myths

-a few that need to be busted

There are infinite misconceptions when it comes to the human body and the diseases that constantly try to outdo the immune system. While many beliefs dubbed ‘native’ do have a scientific backing, some of them do more harm than good. Here is an attempt to look into a few things that have led me to have an argument with elders…

1)      “You can never get enough Vitamins”

As Sheldon Cooper points out, taking too many Vitamin pills does no good and unless I am mistaken, a few can actually cause more harm than good. Our body can only take so much of anything. The rest is either stored or excreted. Most Vitamins-the water soluble ones are passed off proving Sheldon right when he says, “all it leads to is expensive urine”. Sadly you cannot sell it and keep your head high simultaneously

2)      “The Boy baby kicks more in the tummy”/ "Squint brings Luck"

Nope. Any healthy baby kicks and in another related matter, no matter how much you lie in the left lateral position, it isn’t going to be a boy. It is a comfortable position and that is all there is to it. And yes, the dad determines the sex of the child…

Squint has nothing to do with luck and unless a simple surgery corrects it, it might take a fat dowry...

3)      “Most of the heat is lost through the head”

Spot on… That if you are an infant where the greater surface area relative to the body accounts for it and nothing more. So stop wearing a hat to bottle up all the heat because it’s not going to work.

4)      “Drink at least 20 glasses of water everyday”

Drink if you are thirsty, else it is just going to serve as a diluent for all those vitamin pills you popped up and by itself; it is not going to help you lose weight. This is advocated by a bunch of guys that appear on TV post mid night. I also strongly oppose every view they seem to have over matters of pleasure. It is all a bundle of lie

5)      “You can never be too clean”

While there is no denying that cleanliness goes a long way in healthcare, obsessive cleanliness prevents the usual doses of antigenic exposure and this has been associated with an increase in incidence of certain diseases like say Asthma. That doesn’t mean we can have a party with the pigs in dirty surroundings.

6)      “Eating infected chicken causes chikunkunya”

I actually heard one of my patients explain the aetiology of his fever. Apparently, the local politician was behind this rumour. Rest assured, unless chickens are 100 times smaller and suck your blood, you are safe.

7)      “Swallow a fruit seed, a tree will grow in your tummy”

I grew with this axiom and it explains why I still can’t eat grapes without the fear of a grape falling out of my mouth. However, scientific proof says unless your tummy is a fertile area with clay and stuff, you are safe. Now I wonder why the flowers grow out of girls’ heads….hmmm.

8)      “Cancer is not curable”

Actually, there is no cure for any disease if getting back to the exact pre-disease state is the benchmark. Even a minor cold will alter your milieu interior and it will never be the same. Anything that ensures the ravaging disease is controlled is the cure. Under that definition, we can definitely fight cancer with awesome weapons in the medical and surgical arsenal.

9)      “You can ask the OGcian anything”/ “Go to the specialist Right away”

Wrong….anything lateral to the fallopian tubes is alien to her so don’t. It goes for everything. A neurosurgeon thinks of a tumour to be the reason for the headache. A psychiatrist thinks it is the repressed urges of id that manifest thus. An ophthalmologist will think in terms of refractive errors. It is not their fault. You should first consult your family physician who could probably account your wife’s diamond necklace as the cause for the headache…

10)   “The foremost duty of the doc is to give me pills and injections”

While you will not be denied a pill on most counts, you must realize that (here I quote Sir. William Osler) his duty is to ‘educate the masses not to take medicine…

Finally, the most important one of them all...

"The Doc will save me….always”

The biggest myth of them all… Truth be told, the role of the doctor is to ensure things do not worsen dramatically in the time body heals itself, at least on most cases. He just buys you time. In the battle against the reaper, the medical fraternity wins a lot and loses a few times. While the wins are temporary, the defeats are everlasting. 

A heroic doc may save an alcoholic who came coughing up blood by sacrificing his sleep for the countless hours the patient spent in a bar, but if the same man doesn't refrain from drinking and comes again with a swollen tummy whose fault is it that this time he didn't walk out? 

Whose fault is it you lifted weights 2 weeks after the surgery? Whose fault is it you ate a dozen sweets for diwali and ended up unconscious in the hospital?

So rather than blame the doc when something goes wrong, think of all what he did to make you comfortable, after all, do you not want your kid to treat someone someday?