Friday, November 11, 2011


I don't understand people's mistrust of doctors. I've been to asshole doctors before, and I've asked to change doctors once, but most are good at what they do and some even take a personal approach to their practice and take extra time with you. For every one doctor that I didn't like, I can think of ten I've seen that have been extremely helpful.

Sure, there are the horror stories you hear where the arrogant doctor kills a patient, but it's these stories that get the news because people were involved and because it is more rare than doctors doing a good job. You'll never hear how an arrogant WalMart supervisor ruined the day of all his subordinates because no one died from his mess-up. Assholes are everywhere, and yet there are people put there who claim that doctors, in general, have a "god-complex" and are just playing with their patients' lives.

Perhaps this is true for them. They happened to be "screwed around" by doctors who have nothing better to do than make their patients feel inferior. Yet, they still go to the doctor when they are sick or in an emergency.

Perhaps, even simpler and evermore likely, they just don't like the answers they got from the doctor. Maybe the doctor, who went to school for eight years, made a decision based on the knowledge he or she has, and when questioned, tried to address the fears of the patient, who, with as little knowledge on the subject as a lay person could have challenged the doctor's decision. Maybe the patient was rude. Maybe the doctor had a long day. Maybe he became terse after that. Does that make doctors arrogant jerks playing god? I don't think so.

"But wait!" you say, "there are plenty of stories of female nurses telling doctors they are doing wrong and the doctors not listening." Congratulations! You have just hit on another problem in our society that isn't special to medicine by any means. For long time, most doctors were male. For a long time, this country had a very one-sided view of gender roles and the perception of women. In all fields that we're make dominated, you had this imbalance of power. Guess what? The balance has been shifting for years. The number of female doctors has grown by almost twenty percent in thirty years, according to the AMA. Is it time to shift our own perceptions of the fields that used to be so strictly patriarchal?

Anecdotal evidence doesn't hold up well in my mind because I simply wasn't there to see it and can't tell if the person telling the story might be embellishing, so I could hear example after example by a person about doctors treating them like crap, but in the end, if the person got through whatever medical problem they have without too many complications and their still walking around without needing to file a malpractice suit, then the asshole doctor with the god-complex was right all along. As much as that might hurt an ego to hear after they've demonized the entire practice of medicine, it's true. "oh, your doctor wouldn't listen to you about this? But the other thing he said would work worked? Well, then he was still right and you weren't." Hard to say that to someone who has been through a serious medical scare.

I will grant that every patient has a right to-and in fact should seek-a second opinion when faced with serious illness or injury. It is the patients' responsibility to do so, not the doctors', so don't think they're arrogant for not suggesting it, especially if they are a specialist in their field. They make their diagnosis and prognosis and assume you trust them if you don' ask questions or get a second opinion. A Starbuck's barista wouldn't send you a coworker to make sure you really want no whip on your mocha, right? I

t's also not up to the doctor to think of questions for you. Go to you local library and bring a list of questions to ask your doctor. Reader's Digest has been suggesting that for years. Ask questions and if you don't get an answer, ask someone else, but if you don't like the answer no matter where you get it from, think about what that might mean.

Anyway, I'm done ranting. It's not that I'm super pro-doctor. I just hate hearing generalizations about people or entire fields based on misinformation. Have a good Armistice Day, everyone.


  1. "Remember, the word doctor means teacher, so it’s a two-way street. If you come up with the right person, you’re on the right path."

    -- Dr. Mehmet Oz

  2. TV doctors don't count. Dr. Oz is a homeopathic nut job.