Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Bogus Operations

People with agonizing knee pain enter Bruce Mosley’s operating room and leave pain-free.

Having fixed countless knees, Bruce wanted to know which part of his procedure was the most effective so he could perfect the technique.

As he was about to start the trial, a colleague butted in and insisted he included a placebo group. Bruce thought it was a waste of time, but trusted her expertise and obliged.

The surgeon’s guinea pigs were split into three groups:

One got their knee joints washed. The second got the full operation. And the last got three little cuts and a first-rate act of showmanship.

The results?

All groups enjoyed improvements and none were better than the placebo group.

What worked wasn’t the washing and scraping of the knee, it was the ritual of the surgery.

And it wasn’t a band-aid solution.

One man who underwent the placebo operation used to be in so much pain he could barely walk. Over three years after his trip to the theatre his knee didn’t trouble him at all.

Why did the sham surgical show work? Because the patients believed surgery was the answer.

Arthroscopic surgery is performed roughly 2 million times per year. But if the procedure is about as effective at ridding knee pain as tying a live crab around your neck, why do surgeons prefer it to the placebo?

Because the placebo effect suffers from a bad image, “Science heals people, not magic.”

Perhaps surgeons can make the placebo more attractive by giving it a facelift.

P.S. Wearing a live crab for a necklace is an actual medieval treatment prescribed to heal swollen eyes.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach