Change Your Attitude towards Doctors

Through tattered clothes great vices do appear;
Robes and furred growns hide all. – Shakespeare

If you attend a few classes and get a certificate does it make you an expert in anything?

That is, versus someone who spent years practicing the craft, doing post-doctoral studies and possesses deep understanding of human psychology.

If you are able to stand in front of an audience and spout regurgitated, plagiarized homilies, does that qualify you as a priest?

Versus someone who have devoted years in theological studies and training how to be a shepherd?

Are unmarried marriage counselors any good? If you cross the line into territories you should not have ventured into, how does that make you look?

The world is full of nobodies with fierce, impressive titles but these same charlatans have probably never managed any endeavor of any significance and size. Yes, anyone can use PowerPoint charts to dazzle even when they have no proven track records to speak of.

Sure, you may have all the external trappings of what you imagine is a picture of “success” and you could even hire ghostwriters to write you a book, but if you have not the character, experience and values, how professional are you?

And even if you have the proper – that is real – qualifications, how do you conduct yourself?

Are journalists reporters of news or do they themselves become the story?

Following a devastating earthquake in Nepal, CNN crew filmed its own chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta, on-site, as he performed emergency brain surgery on an eight-year-old girl and resuscitated another victim of the quake. This was not the first time Gupta practiced medicine on a patient in front of the camera. He treated a two-year-old boy on assignment in the Middle East, and examined patients on camera after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

In doing so, Gupta violates both medical and journalism ethics. As a doctor, he is obligated to protect client confidentiality. He may not show the procedures being performed on them without their informed consent, and in a foreign setting under emergency conditions, informed consent by patients is almost never possible 100% of the time. In the US, doing what Gupta did in Nepal on camera would be against the law. That means it is unethical anywhere, even in places like Nepal.

But Gupta is a new breed of television doctor who has a medical degree and thus must be a health authority. And gullible viewers suck it up.

People trust doctors, that’s the problem.

Gupta has repeatedly endorsed Merck’s controversial vaccine Gardasil as a means of preventing cervical cancer on the air and on his CNN blog, but the fact of the matter is that Gardasil’s clinical trials never tested for preventing cervical cancer. The vaccine was tested for preventing pre-cancerous lesions associated with two strains of HPV (Human Papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease.

And since these lesions can take 12 to 20 years to develop into cervical cancer and the clinical trials lasted less than five years, medical experts warn that the jury is still out on what impact this vaccine might have on cervical cancer rates, so for Gupta to endorse it is an act of not only sheer unprofessionalism but also an act of gross irresponsibility.

Further, his credibility as a journalist has gone to the dogs when he rubbished a medical report on Donald Trump but gave a rather muted response over Hillary Clinton’s fainting episode last month. Clearly he was demonstrating his political preferences, something no professional journalist should be involved in. Dr Gupta, your slip is showing!

And don’t get me started on Dr Mehmet Oz.

He made a name for himself touting miracle cures on TV, but Oz was strongly criticized for his claims about weight-loss supplements in a Senate hearing in June 2014. Following that, 10 doctors from around the United States have called for Oz to be removed the faculty of Columbia University in New York. They accused Oz of “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”

Some actually asked for his doctor’s license to be revoked.

And his response? “Freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans. And these 10 doctors are trying to silence that right.”

Well, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about people who talk like that.

And you know what?

Oz wasn’t removed by Columbia. Those ten were voted down.

You see, doctors take care of their own kind.

And that to me, is the most insidious aspect of the medical profession.

It’s time we change our views about these “healers” who seem to have forgotten The Hippocratic Oath.