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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, detached, but caring, compassionate and sensitive. In short, they want doctors who look more like holy healers than human beings.
It makes sense that people would want that from their doctors. When you’re lying on the exam table with the doctor probing your anus, vagina, penis or any other embarrassing organ, you want to believe that the person doing this to you is pure, healthy, honest, competent and doing this which is best for you. . You don’t want to think the doctor is a perv with a degree and a license to abuse.
Well, I’m afraid I have bad news for you. I went to medicine, and I know.
Put yourself in the shoes of a doctor. At one time he or she was like you, a layman. They went to kindergarten and elementary school and did as they were told, learned to take exams and get the expected answers, and thus got good grades. They kept doing that until they got into medical school. They were selected for their grades and test scores.
For some jobs, candidates must pass personality tests, to give an indication of their character. Are they antisocial, are they honest, would they steal? You would want to know this about employees before giving them a job. Yet, for those who apply for the position of doctor, there are no such tests of character. Candidates 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 can make you a good physiologist, anatomist or biochemist, but they have nothing to do with compassion. In fact, since most medical science relies heavily on cruel animal research, torturing and killing millions of dogs, cats, monkeys, rats and other animals every year, there is nothing further from compassion than the field of medicine.
Indeed, medical education is deliberately designed to desensitize laypersons to blood and guts so that they can become doctors. Dealing with sick people, some in severe pain, anxious, fearful, helpless, requires a cool head. It is important for doctors to remain calm when everyone is on high alert. In the real world, of course, you have to learn to be cool and calm 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 medical history in written form and take a test on what drug to give them, that wouldn’t be a problem for doctors, especially if the tests are multiple-choice like they are in medical school and on medical licensing tests.
But medical care requires different skills and personalities than simply taking multiple-choice tests. This is why medicine has so many specialties that students can choose from. Medical school takes four years to complete. The first two years are devoted to textbooks and laboratories. The last two years, you can try different medical specialties for a few weeks to a few months, to see what works for you. Some people love the thrill of a seizure. They usually go to emergency medicine. They enjoy the adrenaline rush of a heart attack or a car accident. They don’t like to see people dying slowly from chronic illnesses and drug side effects. They prefer the medical quicky to the long-term commitment. Come in, get treatment, and refer to another doctor for follow-up.
Others who experience a stress jolt go into surgery. Imagine the rush you feel when you open a stranger’s chest, blood spurting everywhere, nurses handing you forceps to stop the flow, machines beeping faster in time with the patient’s pulse and breathing, the sweat taken from your forehead dripping from the nurse, the anesthesiologist warning that the patient is in cardiac arrest, and while staying above the fray in your outward demeanor, making dirty jokes with the nurses and talking of timeshare stations with the anesthesiologist. What work!
For those who prefer to be more like the old doctor, there is family medicine. You can see children, parents, pregnant women, old people, the whole range of humanity and with all kinds of problems. When the going gets tough, you just have to send them to another specialist. People trust you and tell you their life secrets. It’s light medicine, a great specialty for relaxed people.
I remember a family doctor where I had an exam on my 30th birthday, at a time in my life before entering medicine and when I still believed in routine exams. He did a thorough examination, including a digital rectal examination to check for an enlarged prostate and other signs of inflammation. I did not expect that. “Drop your pants and bend over,” he told me. He was a tall, blond, handsome doctor, about six feet tall, single, but apparently heterosexual. “Is it really necessary?” I asked. , slipped vasoline jelly on it, and in it, as I scrunched up in displeasure. “How’s your sex life?” he asked, pausing inside to take his bearings. “Very well,” I replied, slightly miffed that he hadn’t even taken me to lunch.
Shortly after being admitted to medical school. Before starting classes, I went to volunteer at a local low-income health clinic, hoping to gain more experience. They dressed me in a white coat, called me “medical student”, and in no time I was doing a pelvic exam on an 18-year-old woman. The doctor did the exam first, then asked me to feel the cervix as I uncomfortably slipped my gloved hand into the strange woman’s faintly smelling vagina. My lay days were coming to an end. I already had access to people’s bodies.
Some guys would have been envious, I suppose, as long as the pus didn’t put you off. Imagine what kind of guys become gynecologists. They can tell women to strip for them all day, all types of women. They can then stick their fingers into their vaginas, anuses and feel their breasts. They want their patients to feel like they are experts on women, even if they are only men and have never had a period, never worn a bra or a strange guy probed their vaginas.
Of course, there is a downside to this specialty. What would it do to your sense of women to have to examine sick, smelly, diseased vaginas every day? When your wife falls in love, do you instinctively grab your glove and lube?
While most gynecologists are male, urologists are not overwhelmingly female. The women are ready for a strange doctor to probe their genitals. But most men would find it strange for a female doctor to probe their penis. Of course, it’s strange that a man also probes your penis. What kind of man is attracted to urology and a lifelong specialty of treating penile and prostate problems?
The same can be asked of proctologists. Imagine, as a medical student, if you found working with rectums and colons exciting. What would it do to your sense of humanity to see cigarette butts all day, year after year?
As you can see, it might be difficult to make a specialty choice. If you are truly an idealistic person and you came to medicine to end suffering, you are going to be disappointed and saddened. I know a rheumatologist who couldn’t bear to see her patients slowly die, unable to do much to relieve their suffering. She decided to change her specialty and become an anesthetist, so that all of her patients would be unconscious and she wouldn’t have to know them personally.
These medical students who don’t fit any other mold and are a bit of a weirdo themselves usually become psychiatrists, escaping the blood and guts by seeking the spirit. Psychiatrists who are basket case themselves often experience great emotional relief and increased self-esteem from simply listening to other people’s problems all day, which makes psychiatry very therapeutic for the physician. This is an especially attractive specialty for medical students who love LSD or peyote and have stayed high for most of their basic science training. They can really get into people’s twisted fantasies and hallucinations. But beware of the power-hungry shrink. If they want to, they can call you crazy, lock you up, and keep you drugged up in your mind for the rest of your life.
Indeed, doctors have all kinds of powers over the public. They are authorized to practice on drug addicts and people who have undergone surgery. As a doctor, you can accidentally kill a patient, or make it look accidental, and get away with it if you can prove it was standard medical procedure. And you can even bill the deceased patient’s estate for the services. It is power. This power is attractive to some people, which is why they became doctors in the first place. Of course, as in politics, anyone drawn 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 having the power, money and prestige that our culture gives to the medical profession are not necessarily the best people to treat patients fairly, with sensitivity. and with the interests of the patient foremost in mind. These doctors are not responding to the health needs of their patients. Patients respond to their physician’s energy needs.
With the power of medicine comes money. First and foremost, medicine is a business. It’s about treating the disease, which means the doctor knows best when you’re sick, not when you’re well. It puts the doctor, like the auto mechanic, invested in your meltdown. This 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 medicine’s fundamental and underlying financial impetus may be enough to drive you out of 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 are interviewed, keep in mind that the person who is investigating is no different from anyone else. They are not necessarily saints who take a vow of poverty to care for the sick and help prevent disease. They are not necessarily impartial, objective and mature people who can take their personal feelings away from their work. They are just ordinary people who have been given a license to practice on you. They have the same perversions, prejudices, stupidities, self-interests and petty lives as the rest of humanity, but are drawn to the lucrative and powerful business of disease.
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