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Medical Mistrust: What To Do When The Evidence Isn’t Enough

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

The Skeptic magazine (Homepage - The Skeptic) recently published an article on medical mistrust, highlighting poorer patient outcomes.

Does this translate for our veterinary patients too?

Who do we trust, if we don’t trust the experts?

As a veterinary professional, my colleagues and I have experienced accusations that we sell complete dry kibble that kills animals, that the Lepto4 vaccine is dangerous and deadly, that vets favour certain treatments over natural means because they deliberately want to make animals sicker, and more. These claims are often disheartening and upsetting, as well as wholly unsubstantiated by robust evidence. When such claims are rebutted on veterinary education platforms using evidence, the onslaught of conspiracy theories just spirals further.

Medical mistrust in the human and veterinary fields undoubtedly causes poor patient outcomes, delay in necessary treatment, and further stress and time pressure burdens on overworked and understaffed professionals. Long term plans are needed to tackle the root cause of the issues, and continued education and support is needed for those who have not yet been subjected to misinformation, to allow them to be more critical and skeptical about medical information sources.

At the end of the day, healthcare professionals just want the best for their patients.



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