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Only Human

Patients and Doctors Fess Up

This episode originally aired October 20, 2015.

Back in October, we asked you to share your health confessions with us. The secrets about your health, or the gambles you take. Many of you tweeted your confessions using #OnlyHuman, and you can see them in a gallery we’ve created here.  

It turns out you guys have all kinds of vices. Some of you eat the wrong things, some of you use drugs, and some of you are guilty of sins of omission: details you’d rather not tell your doctor.

Debra told us that she did not tell anyone when she bought a plane ticket to Tijuana to get a gastric sleeve, a weight reduction procedure, because her American doctor refused to do it. Christian (not his real name) called to tell us that he feared losing his driver’s license if he was honest with his doctor about his seizures, which are starting to increase in frequency. When we first aired this episode, some listeners expressed concern that Christian’s secret might put others in harm’s way.

So we asked two neurologists: is it reckless for a person with Christian’s condition to drive? They both suggested that probably not — but he could be putting himself at risk. They told us poorly controlled seizures can increase the risk of memory problems, and of a condition called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

When we hide things from our doctors, are they onto us?

“I wouldn’t call it lying,” said Dr. Henry Lodge, an internist at Columbia University Medical Center. “It’s very hard to share things that we feel uncomfortable about.”  In this episode, we go to that uncomfortable place, and hear stories from patients — as well as doctors — as they discuss the mistakes, mishaps, and near fatal errors that happen between doctor and patients.

This episode features: Dr. David Bell, Dr. Christine Laine, Dr. Henry Lodge, Dr. Owen Muir, and Dr. Danielle Ofri.

 

What are you afraid to tell your doctor? Is there something about your health that you keep from your family and friends? Comment below, send an email to onlyhuman@wnyc.org, or leave us a voicemail at (803) 820-WNYC (9692).

 

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