Science: Health: Placebo
Hypochondriac Clinic   (+17, -1)  [vote for, against]
Stop them wasting the time of people with real physiological problems

Hypochondriacs waste the time of professional health workers by constantly claiming to be suffering from all manner of symptoms. As a result, it takes longer for people who are ill to be seen and treated.

I propose a special clinic for hypochondriacs. Persistent offenders would be referred to it, and told to use it as their regular practice. In it, a number of qualified doctors (so that on the offchance that one of them is really ill, this can be diagnosed) will listen sympathetically to their problems, and then prescribe them a placebo.

For those who are convinced of the need for surgery, a full operating theatre could also be used; the patient would be put under general anaesthetic and upon coming round told that the operation was a success. For the sake of authenticity, it may be necessary to make incisions in the patient in order that they may be stitched up.

This would free up many hours of otherwise wasted time, and so more people get treated. As an added bonus, the hypochondriacs get as much attention as they want, which is probably what they need anyway.

Obviously, it would not be made known to the public as a clinic for hypochondriacs, as this would counteract any placebo effect. Instead, the patients would be told it was a specialist clinic for people with multiple, recurring health problems.
-- -alx, Aug 13 2001

I feel that I really need this clinic.
-- Aristotle, Aug 13 2001

Great idea, can we send time wasting fools from A&E departments. Who, for instance, have chewing gum in their hair, or who's tooth has come out and it had some blood on it.
-- Little_Crow, Aug 13 2001

Nurse! Three grains of Azure Empyrean, stat!
-- StarChaser, Aug 13 2001

Maybe this has been Baked and only the chief medical officers of certain countries are wise to it? How would we, as potential hypochondriacs, know? Email your government representatives and demand the truth now! And send -alx half a pastry!
-- Dog Ed, Aug 14 2001

Hypochondriac's epitaph: 'I *told* you I was ill.'
-- angel, Aug 14 2001

Hence the 'physiological' in the subtitle.

Treating hypochondriacs is time wasted if they are being seen and treated for imagined physiological complaints.

Treating hypochondriacs for their psychological problems is, on the other hand, time well spent. This idea is a (admittedly extremely flippant) way of getting them out of a system not equipped to deal with them, at the same time seeing whether placebo 'cures' have any effect.
-- -alx, Aug 14 2001

And if you're cruel, tell 'em about the side effects.

By the way, what do you use as a placebo for real diabetics?
-- decafsilicon, Aug 14 2001

-- angel, Aug 14 2001

This is a good idea but flawed in many areas. 1) Once it is discovered its sole purpose is to attend to hypochondriacs, it loses all credibility and would have to close down. 2) Having to use qualified doctors incase there is a real case defeats the purpose of the hospital, which would free up those doctors for real work in a "real" hospital. 3) Diagnosing something falsely and then in affect slicing him up for "believable" results would raise many problems. How does the insurance company acount for this? Would you make the man pay 50,000 bucks for brain surgery when all they did was scratch him a bit? The cuts would be totally unnecessary, so wouldn't that as well border on malpractice or assault? 4) How do you charge a man for treatment he never agrees to or even is aware he is getting?

It's a good idea in theory but could never work.
-- DukesterM, Jun 23 2003

Good practice for student doctors (e.g. doing surgery but without touching anything inside).
-- phundug, Aug 05 2004

So couldn't the patients be treated for hypochondria?
-- xandram, May 03 2006

Let's get to the root of the problem i.e. Mommy. Every time the school is called about sick child, the hypochondria patrol should be sent to the home to evaluate the child and transport to school if determined to be healthy. Come to think of it, we need this at workplaces across America, as well. 10minutes ago my coworker whipped a bottle of Beano out of his drawer to give to another coworker after a discussion of bloat-he keeps a virtual pharmacy in his desk at work.
-- AH, May 03 2006

Why is it that every discussion about psychological problems ends up referring to Ma?
-- methinksnot, May 03 2006

Why is it that every discussion about psychological problems ends up referring to Me?
-- wagster, May 04 2006

random, halfbakery