Cognitive Dissonance

The Mesh Mess - Why are doctors so irrational and why are patients so distressed


Kiss my not a donkeyI have pondered for a long time why my colleagues who are good doctors and good people behave so irrationally and so hurtfully towards their mesh pain patients.

Doctors have a strongly held belief that they are not at liberty to challenge or change. They are locked into this belief because mesh has been deemed the standard of care. So when this belief is challenged by new information or the complaints of their patients they are thrown into a psychologically distressing state of cognitive dissonance. Their coping mechanism for dealing with this distress is denial and rationalization. They will tell their patients that their pain is all in their heads. The ones who will admit that mesh causes pain will rationalize their involvement by saying to themselves "Well, but mesh is the standard of care." They further rationalize and deny by saying it is impossible to remove mesh.

In patients cognitive dissonance created by their physician denying what they know to be true creates great emotional distress for which they have few coping mechanisms. This results in physical pain, emotional pain, distrust and social isolation.

Here is a great article on Cognitive Dissonance on Wikipedia. Read it and I am sure it will strike a serious cord.

If you don't get the picture(and me), take a look at the source code for this page for another clue.

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"Milan—Chronic groin pain after hernia surgery is now considered the most important issue facing inguinal hernia surgeons and their patients. Yet, there is still much uncertainty surrounding what causes the pain and how to prevent it." - Victoria Stern, General Surgery News

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