What to do about "Mixed Messages" in Medicine
What do you know about the sending of "mixed messages" to the public and patients by the medical profession either from the government, institutions or from individual physicians? I might define a "mixed message" as virtually advice or education based on one view and at the same time presenting advice or demonstrating behavior of an opposing view. Such "mixed messages" can range from issues such as over-weight physicians advising weight control to their patients, medical institutions advising influenza immunizations to patients but a large proportion of the institution's staff rejecting immunization, a governmental medical agency advising against routine mammograms before age 50 and in contrast to other cancer specialty groups advising mammograms at an earlier age. Even in the critical care unit, the attending physician may recommend to family the reduction of energetic supportive treatment in a end-stage ill patient whereas specialists on the case may encourage further supportive treatments.
As patients, families of patients or just plain citizens who want to stay healthy and need to be educated about matters medical, how should we handle the issue of receiving "mixed messages" from those who we look to for clear information to make our decisions? Or should we just resign ourselves that this is only part of the human condition, a fact of life and we should simply live with it. (..or occasionally die with it.) ..Maurice.