When a patient with an upper respiratory tract infection asked why he wasn't getting a prescription for antibiotics when other physicians had given his wife and child antibiotics for the same symptoms, Stephen R. Smith, MD, was prepared to meet resistance. But he explained to the patient that the infection was viral, and antibiotics wouldn't help. The patient's response surprised him. Instead of pressing for the same treatment his wife and child got, he exclaimed, “So that's why the antibiotics didn't work!”
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YouTube tutorials created by the National Physicians Alliance for physicians and patients provide pointers on how to discuss the value of various medical interventions and avoid unnecessary care.
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