Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Can a little ( medical ) knowledge can be dangerous ?

I received the following email from Dr Athreya.

" Hello Dr Anirudha and Dr Anjali, I was greatly fascinated after reading the article on HELP in Sunday Magazine of 'The Hindu' newspaper. I Congratulate you on this innovative mission and vision you have ahead. Wish you all the success. My only concern, may be not valid, is that it should not lead to partial knowledge which could be dangerous. Since I am in science stream I am also worried about the confusion which may prevail in the minds of a layman, like me who do not have any knowledge of medicine, while encounter with agnostic views and interpretations of scientific theories and findings in medical field. As we are immensely bombarded with facts in medical findings we may be unable decide on legitamacy of findings, which only experts can handle."

Here's my reply.

" I understand your concern that " a little knowledge may be dangerous".However, in my opinion, ignorance is far more dangerous !
It's true that there is often a difference of opinion amongst doctors - after all, medicine is a complex, inexact science. It just means that patients need to be aware of these differences - not get intimidated by them. It's better to be confused because you know too much - rather than to live in ignorant bliss ! Armed with this knowledge, patients can then make the right decision for themselves ( with a little help from their doctors !)

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