Health checkups are a scam meant to convert healthy people into patients

Health checkups are a scam meant to convert healthy people into patients: The message that prevention is better than cure has been drilled into us ever since we were children. This is one of the reasons that executive health checkups have become so popular. The promise is that they will help your doctor pick up medical problems early so that these can be treated more effectively. Unfortunately, even though the logic is very appealing, the sad truth is that health checkups are good only for doctors, testing centers and hospitals, but not for patients!

Let’s look at why health checkups are being promoted so aggressively. The checkup is a great way of converting well people into patients and for creating a constant stream of customers for the healthcare system. It’s a mathematical certainty that if you run a sufficient number of tests, you are bound to find abnormalities. The customer gets worried when the lab result is abnormal and then hurries off to his doctor to get expert advice as to whether it is serious or not. This means that once you find an abnormality, the person is lured into the healthcare system, and the vicious cycle starts.

The equation is simple: Abnormality = more tests = more consultations = more treatment, much of which is unnecessary. Let’s consider a 40-year-old asymptomatic woman who goes for a deluxe super-duper health checkup at a local five-star hospital. Because she has opted for the Platinum scheme, the doctor does a vaginal ultrasound scan to check her ovaries. She may find a small ovarian cyst, which is when the games start. Ovarian cysts are very common in women and most will resolve on their own. However, the doctor scares the patient into doing surgery, using the number of fear-inducing techniques, such as it may increase in size; it may burst; or, it may become cancerous.

The sonographer is also a part of this scam, and magnifies the findings by highlighting them and by reporting the size in mm, instead of cm (a 4 cm cyst is reported as a 40 mm cyst, to make it seem bigger!) The soft-sell is that this is done by “minimally invasive” surgery, so that there is no cut and can be done on a day-care basis. Also, the insurance will pick up the tab, so there are no financial damages!

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