Why do Japanese doctors expect birth exactly on time?

“One hospital even required all women to give birth by induced labour on a fixed schedule. This, I supposed, was an offshoot of the just-in-time inventory method that made Toyota so successful.”

About Face by Clayton Naff pg 232

Hopefully this is just a joke, because he also points that Japan has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates, and that is partly because of doctor’s obsession with birth weight and therefore inducing birth before it would become too difficult. Like most Japanese, they are also free of the irrational Western love of the “natural”.

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Why do Asian doctors give you so much medicine?

I went in for an H1N1 test here in Korea and was told I just had a cold but came out with a prescription for five (!) drugs, none of which I even bothered getting from the chemist’s.

One reason doctors in Japan, Korea and Thailand (my three Asian countries) give so many drugs is that local patients demand them. I’d always assumed that was part of the Asian optimism about science and the future in general and lack of worries about chemicals such as food additives, with maybe a bit of risk-adverse doctors being more likely to be condemned for doing too little rather than too much and some profit to the doctors. According to an article I read yesterday by an American doctor in Korea, though, it is because giving drugs to restore the body’s balance ties in with the ancient Chinese concept of chi (ki in Japanese), being a kind of mystic energy. He said that Western patients thanked him for giving them no treatment, whereas Korean patients demand injections. Certainly ties in with the “more weird stuff is better” philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine.

Japanese hospitals Stat of the Day

Why do Japanese so rarely ask for second opinions from doctors?

“most doctors… refuse to offer second opinions, looking to avoid conflict… with the colleague who made the original diagnosis” Read the rest of this entry »