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Can You Trust Your Doctor? A Medical Heretic Exposes the Medical Mystique
Most people think highly of their doctors. They want their doctors to be objective, scientific, independent and yet caring, compassionate and sensitive. Ultimately, they want doctors who look more like healing saints than human beings.
It makes sense that people would want this from their doctors. When you’re lying on the exam table with the doctor probing your anus, vagina, penis, or other embarrassing organ, you want to believe that the person doing this to you is pure, healthy, honest, competent, and doing the which is better for you. . You don’t want to think the doctor is a pervert with a degree and license to abuse.
Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. I’ve been in medicine, and I know it.
Put yourself in the shoes of a doctor. At one time, he or she was just like you, a layman. They went to kindergarten and elementary school and did what they were told, learned how to take the tests and get the expected answers, and got good grades as a result. They continued to do this until they entered medical school. They were selected based on their grades and test results.
For some jobs, applicants have to take personality tests, to give some indication of their character. Are they antisocial, are they honest, would they steal? I would like to know this about employees before I give them a job. However, for those applying for the doctor’s job, there is no character test. Applicants are selected through academic tests. And these people will be entrusted with human lives.
Would scoring high in chemistry, physics, or math make you a great doctor? Of course not. Does knowing physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry make you compassionate? They may make you a good physiologist, anatomist or biochemist, but they have nothing to do with compassion. Indeed, since most medical sciences rely heavily on cruel animal research, torturing and killing millions of dogs, cats, monkeys, rats and other animals every year, nothing could be further from compassion than the field of medicine.
In fact, medical education is deliberately designed to desensitize laypeople to blood and guts so they can become doctors. Dealing with sick people, some in intense pain, distressed, fearful, helpless, requires a cool head. It’s important for doctors to stay calm when everyone else is on edge. In the real world, of course, you have to learn to be cool and collected in a crisis. Since the medical student is not selected on anything other than test scores, the fact is that most students cannot live up to this ideal. If all you had to do with patients was get their written health history and give them a test on what medicine to give them, it wouldn’t be a problem for doctors, especially if the tests are multiple choice, because they are in medical school and in medical licensing exams.
But medical care requires different skills and personalities than just taking multiple-choice tests. This is why medicine has so many specialties for students to choose from. Medical school takes four years to complete. The first two years are textbooks and labs. In the last two years, you can try different medical specialties for a few weeks or a couple of months, to see what suits your taste. Some people like the thrill of a crisis. They usually enter emergency medicine. They enjoy the adrenaline rush of a heart attack or car accident. They don’t like to see people die slowly from chronic diseases and side effects of drugs. They prefer quick, long-term medical commitment. Go in, patch it, and see some other doctor to follow up.
Others who get a shock from stress go on to surgery. Imagine the rush you feel when you open a stranger’s chest, blood gushing everywhere, nurses handing you clamps to stop the flow, machines beeping faster to the patient’s pulse and breathing, sweat than the nurse his forehead dripped, the anesthesiologist warning that the patient is going into cardiac arrest and all the while staying above the fray in his outward demeanor, cracking dirty jokes with the nurses and talking about timeshare centers with the anesthesiologist. What hard work!
For those who prefer to be more like the usual doctor, there is family medicine. You can see children, fathers, pregnant mothers, old people, the whole range of humanity, and with all kinds of problems. When the going gets tough, just send them to another specialist. People trust you and tell you their life secrets. This is light medicine, a great specialty for relaxed people.
I remember a family doctor I went to for a checkup on my 30th birthday, at a time in my life before I entered medicine and when I still believed in routine checkups. He did a thorough exam, including a rectal exam to look for an enlarged prostate and other signs of inflammation. I didn’t expect it. “Pull down your pants and bend over,” he told me. He was a tall, blond, handsome doctor, about 6′ 4″, single, but apparently straight. “Is it really necessary?” I asked. “Yes.” So I bent down. He put a small condom on finger. , slipped some Vasoline jelly on it, and went at it, as I scrunched up in disgust. “How’s your sex life?” he asked as he stopped inside to get his bearings. “It’s fine” I replied, a little annoyed that he didn’t. he doesn’t even take me out to lunch.
Not long after he was admitted to medical school. Before starting classes I volunteered at a local low-income health clinic, hoping to gain more experience. I was dressed in a white lab coat, called a “student teacher,” and before long I was doing a pelvic exam on an 18-year-old woman. The doctor did the exam first, then instructed me to touch my cervix as I awkwardly slipped my gloved hand inside the strange woman’s slightly smelly vagina. My lay days were over. They already gave me access to people’s bodies.
Some guys would have been jealous, I guess, as long as the pus doesn’t turn you off. Imagine what kind of guys become gynecologists. They go so far as to tell women to strip all day, all kinds of women. Then they get to put their fingers inside their vaginas, anus and feel their breasts. They want their patients to feel like experts on women, even though they’re just men and have never had their period, worn a bra, or had a strange guy probe their vagina.
Of course, this specialty has a downside. What would it do to your sense of women to have to examine sick, smelly, sick vaginas every day? When your wife falls in love, do you reflexively reach for the glove and lube?
Although most gynecologists are men, urologists are not mostly women. Women are willing to have their genitals probed by a strange doctor. But most men would feel weird about a female doctor probing their penis. Of course, it feels weird to have a man probe your penis too. What kind of man is attracted to urology and a lifelong specialty in treating penile and prostate problems?
The same can be asked of proctologists. Imagine, as a medical student, if you find it exciting to work with rectums and colons. What would it do to your sense of humanity to see asses all day, year after year?
As you can see, choosing a major can be difficult. If you are truly an idealistic person and went to medicine to end suffering, you are in for some disappointment and pain. I know a rheumatologist who could no longer cope with watching her patients slowly die, unable to do much to ease their suffering. She decided to change her specialty and become an anesthesiologist, so that all her patients would be unconscious and she wouldn’t have to meet them personally.
Those medical students who don’t fit any other mold and are a little weird tend to become psychiatrists, escaping the blood and guts in search of the mind. Psychiatrists who are themselves a basket case often feel great emotional relief and a boost in self-esteem simply by listening to other people’s problems all day long, making psychiatry very therapeutic for the clinician. This is an especially attractive specialty for medical students who enjoy LSD or peyote and stayed high for most of their basic science training. They can really tap into people’s twisted fantasies and hallucinations. But watch out for the power hungry shrink. They can call you crazy, lock you up, and keep you drugged for the rest of your life if they want to.
In fact, doctors have all sorts of powers over the public. They are licensed to practice in people with drugs and surgery. As a doctor, you can accidentally kill a patient or make it look like an accident and get away with it if you can prove it was standard medical procedure. And you can even bill the services of the deceased patient’s estate. Now that’s power. This power is attractive to some people, which is why they became doctors in the first place. Of course, as in politics, anyone attracted to power is precisely the kind of person who shouldn’t get it. People who grow up wanting to be called “doctor” all the time and have the power, money, and prestige that our culture gives the medical profession are not necessarily the best people to treat patients fairly, sensitively, and with taking into account the interests of the patient. . These doctors do not attend to the health needs of their patients. Patients meet their doctor’s power needs.
Along with the power of medicine comes money. Above all, medicine is a business. It’s about treating disease, which means the doctor notices best when you’re sick, not when you’re well. This makes the doctor, like the auto mechanic, invested in you breaking down. It means that the doctor is invested in disease and treatment, and is the enemy of health and prevention. If you went to medical school to help heal humanity, this sad fact about the basic and underlying financial drive of medicine may be enough to make you leave the profession. It made me quit. It also made me realize that if you want to be healthy, you have to stop doing things that make you sick, including going to the doctor.
So, the next time you’re being polled, remember that the person taking the poll is no different than anyone else. They are not necessarily saints who take vows of poverty to treat the sick and help prevent disease. They are not necessarily unbiased, objective and mature people who can distance their personal feelings from their work. They are just regular people who have been given a license to practice with you. They have the same perversions, prejudices, stupidity, self-interest and mean lives as the rest of humanity, but they are attracted to the lucrative and powerful business of disease.
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