September 8, 2014
Did you ever feel like you were an idiot? I have! As a matter of fact, this time of year I often feel like an idiot. Why? What makes this time of year so special? We are coming into flu season and September starts the anti-flu initiative, otherwise known as the dreaded “Flu Shot.”
Yes, I offer each and every one of my patients the flu shot in an attempt to ward off the flu. Many accept my advice and take their shot. Many do not. Those who do not have an assortment of concerns and fears surrounding the flu shot.
Most of their fears are totally unfounded. Yes, the flu shot comes with risks. Yes, it may cause a paralytic illness called Guillian-Barre Syndrome. Guillian-Barre is rare; and, of the three patients I know who have contracted GBS, none have ever had the flu shot.
Life carries risk! Just talking to me carries the risk that I will uncover an underlying illness you really didn’t want to know you had. Driving to the office is fraught with risk. In the medical field, we assess the risk vs. benefit ratio prior to doing anything. The risk vs. benefit ratio for the flu shot is: tiny risk vs. huge benefit.
I won’t rehash the horrors of influenza. There are plenty of articles on this blog that cover that. Today’s blog is all about me feeling like an idiot. Why? The answer is simple. If I give you a flu shot, I make a couple of bucks and you don’t get the flu. If I don’t give you the flu shot and you get the flu, I make a lot of bucks. I’ll see you three or four times. I may admit you to the hospital in which case the hospital makes money too. I’ll see your family members and close contacts for prophylactic medicine and flu shots. If the flu spreads rapidly, I hit the financial jackpot!
Of course, I may lose a patient or two and I’ll have to deal with your misery and suffering. At least, I will be well paid. But here I sit, pleading with you to protect yourself at my expense, rebuffing your misconceptions and allaying your fears. Fool or doc doing what he’s supposed to. You decide.