Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials

Why do doctors use treatments that do not work?

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7438.474 (Published 26 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:474

We do things, because

We [doctors] do things, because other doctors do so and we don’t want
to be different, so we do so; or because we were taught so[by teachers,
fellows and residents]; or because we were forced [by teachers,
administrators, regulators, guideline developers] to do so, and think that
we must do so; or because patient wants so, and think we should do so; or
because of more incentives [unnecessary tests (especially by procedure
oriented physicians) and visits], we think we should do so; or because of
the fear [by the legal system, audits] we feel that we should do so [so
called covering oneself]; or because we need some time [to let the nature
takes its course], so we do so; finally and more commonly, that we have to
do something [justification] and we fail to apply common sense, so we do
so.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 March 2004
Malvinder S. Parmar
Medical Director, Internal Medicine
Timmins & District Hospital, Timmins, Ontario, Canada