The view I subscribe to currently is that most people don’t care that much about increasing their life expectancy, they care about being cared for and being cared about. They care about reassurance and they care about feeling like they are not alone.When we were shopping around for an obstetrician in 2007, we first asked for a measure of successful deliveries correcting for difficulty. That didn't exist. Then we asked for just rates of adverse outcomes. That doesn't exist either as the docs refuse to supply the data. Our midwife recommended which ones were nice. I said "I don't give a damn which one's nice, I want the one who can unwrap an umbilical cord from around a kid's neck if there's a problem." Finally, phrasing it as "If you only cared about the safest best possible delivery, who would you pick for your own delivery" provided me her assessment. She probably still thinks I'm a jerk, but two successful caesarean deliveries subsequent to unsuccessful trial of labour later, with the latter having involved an umbilical cord twice wrapped around the baby's neck [all turned out fine], I've no regrets.
We can see that people don’t care that much about maximizing their life expectancy because they place an enormous premium on their doctor’s bedside manner and a much smaller premium on his error rate. We can see that when objectively bad doctors who are nice rarely get sued for malpractice, while much better doctors who are assholes get sued all the time.
We can see that when we offer potential surgical patients stats on the number of fatalities at prospective hospitals and they refuse them. We can see that when message boards about doctors are filled with comments like “He really understood me.” “She took the time to stop and listen. “ “I knew they cared about whether I got better” “I was more than just a number.”Well, that explains why the midwife was surprised when I asked for stats. It probably had never come up before.
These are not comments about the skill of the medical provider but about the caring of the medical provider.
How different is economic advice?