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Medical Ethics Without the Rhetoric - ER Frequent Flyer


You are meeting with a patient who is a “frequent flyer.” You and several other physicians in the area see this patient regularly to deal with the patient’s real and, in most cases, imaginary ailments. In this case, the patient complains of anxiety attacks, a complaint that he has presented before. He tells you that he already visited a specialist, a psychiatrist, but the medicine he prescribed is not working. The psychiatrist told him to take the medicine as prescribed and check back in a week. The prescription was written yesterday and is for a multivitamin. Your inclination is to tell the patient to follow the psychiatrist’s advice, but you wonder if you should tell him that he is taking a placebo.