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Dangerous Docs: How do we spot them?

Why do we go to the doctor when something does not feel right? We go because our health is one of the most important things in our lives and yet treatment of our ailments is one of the least understood things in our lives. Most individuals in Pennsylvania and across the nation put blind faith in their doctor's abilities. They received years of intense training so they should know what they are doing right?

In some instances, that assumption is inaccurate. Doctors are not these perfect beings; they are fallible and certainly capable of error. Some make medication errors, fail to diagnose a disease or commit other kinds of medical malpractice. We are placing our lives in their hands, so is there any way to spot the ones that could affect our future? A recently published study suggests that there are a few signs to watch out for when choosing a physician.

The first sign named in the study is what we call a "script happy" medical professional. You know the type, the ones that write a prescription for everything and never suggest any alternatives. In one single decade, the number of prescriptions written increased by 39 percent. This trend can be dangerous the study says and patients should ask more questions before blindly taking a handful of medications.

Another sign is a sleep deprived doc. Doctors are taking on more and more patients every day, increasing their workload and increasing their hours. A drowsy doctor is a dangerous doctor. When you are driving and your eyelids become heavy and you find yourself nodding off, what do you do? You probably pull over. This same practice should be followed by doctors, but many don't take the necessary steps to stay alert so that their minds are working at their full ability. In fact, surgeries being conducted by a doctor with less than six hours of sleep generally have twice the amount of surgical complications.

Overworked doctors and the prescription-happy ones are not the only physicians that can be placing your well-being at risk. In our next post, we'll share the other five signs of a possibly dangerous doctor.

Source: Today Health, "Doctors behaving badly: 7 types to watch out for," Kristen Dold, June 4, 2012

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