Myth: Doctors are demi-gods.
Fact: Yes, once upon a time having a son or daughter become a doctor or lawyer was considered the pinnacle of success for the landed gentry. A golden light shone over these professions and the chosen few who basked in its warmth were held in the highest esteem. For the legal profession this myth was debunked long ago, but for many people doctors are still, consciously and subconsciously regarded as a bit superhuman. They’re not.
Today’s doctors are yesterday’s geeky kids who weren’t good at anything except science. They were the really unhealthy kids. The kids who sustained a groin injury every time they swung themselves up on the pummel horse. The kids who looked forward to weekends as brief respites from being forced to eat urinal cakes. Becoming a doctor is their revenge.
Myth: Doctors are really smart because they have to go to school for a long time.
Fact: Going to school for a long time doesn’t necessarily make you smart. As some of you may remember, going to university deludes you into thinking you are elite and destined for great things. It makes you arrogant and smug. It insulates you from the real world. The longer you’re there, the more ingrained this mindset becomes.
Interestingly, you don’t even have to be doing well at university to maintain this delusion. You show up, sit through a few lectures, write or buy a few assignments and spend the rest of your time drinking. Oh, I’m sure there are doctors who graduated with exceptional grades, but I’m also pretty sure there are doctors out there who graduated with mediocre grades and even “just slipped in under the wire” grades and grades that were bought one way or another.
Myth: Doctors care about people. That’s why they became doctors.
Fact: Please. Okay, maybe a handful of the doctors practicing today went into the profession with nothing but noble motives, but the kids I knew who were going on to medical school did it for the money. [And on the topic of motivations, some of the guys I knew who were going on to teacher’s college wanted to become high school teachers because the idea of spending their entire day with hot teenaged girls was their idea of heaven – scary, eh?]
Myth: Doctors know a lot about medicine and the human body.
Fact: Nobody knows more about your human body than you do. Doctors only know as much as they were able to absorb and retain from school. Most of them have 800 patients and very little free time. What free time they do have they use to spend all their money, so they certainly don’t have time to keep up with their journal reading and staying current on medical break-throughs and advancements. If it weren’t for the pharmaceutical sales reps relentlessly at their doorsteps telling them about all the great new diseases they’ve invented drugs for, doctors would be lost. Doctors rely 70% on pharma reps help them make diagnoses and 30% on the manufacturers and marketers of cool new diagnostic machines and probes.
Myth: If I am sick, my doctor will make me better.
Fact: Unfortunately, it is not your doctor’s job to make you better. Your doctor’s mandate is to do something – anything – about the symptom(s) you complain of. He or she will drug you, cut you, zap you and/or prod you until that symptom is no longer evident. Whether or not this treatment causes you a more serious illness or debility along the way or some time in the future, is irrelevant. If the medical profession and the health care system really wanted to make people better they would put most of their time and resources into prevention. Because a whole big bunch of our illnesses and diseases could probably be prevented through better lifestyle choices and through healthier environments (air, water, food and all the other products to which we’re exposed every day that are full of nasty stuff).
Myth: House is a good doctor.
Fact: House isn’t a doctor at all. He’s an English comedian/musician turned actor (Hugh Laurie) who pretends to be a doctor on TV and gets paid a lot of money for doing a good job pretending. Do not write to him with your medical problems. They make him feel queasy.