Let’s drop the god-complex
Your doctor (in their heart-of-hearts) knows that they’re not god… unless your doctor happens to be Alec Baldwin from the 1993 movie Malice.
What could possibly be making the doctor god-complex stick around in the information age?
There’s some disturbing (to me) research out there. The blame might not lay completely with your doctor.
YOU might be part of the problem.
I can’t believe it, so I’m asking you…. There’s a one question survey at the bottom of this post. Read on, then pick which type of doctor you’d rather have.
The problem with the god-complex (and why it’s a big turn-off for me)
I don’t care if your doctor is the world’s most preeminent expert in your particular condition. Someone, somewhere will have an alternate way of dealing with the same problem. And the alternate way may actually be the better way!
What we think of as “best practices” in healthcare today may seem ridiculously bad tomorrow. History is littered with examples of “commonly accepted” medical practices gone wrong. Case in point.
I’m not just picking on medical doctors here.
The God Complex Cost This Dentist Two Patients
My kid’s dentist told me that I needed to make my son stop sucking his thumb. He recommended that I put a foul tasting liquid on his thumb to break the habit. He presented it like we had to stop the thumb sucking immediately… or else.
It seemed cruel to turn a kids self-soothing into an anxiety causing experience. My wife immediately looked on the internet. Turns out that the America Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t agree with my pediatric dentist. Faced with conflicting information, my wife and I made our own choice. We decided not to go back to that dentist.
The problem wasn’t that the dentist had a different opinion than the generally accepted “normal.” The problem was that he didn’t approach it like a conversation.
My kids would still be patients if the dentist had just said “the ADA recommends ‘x’ but I think you should do ‘y’. Here’s why…”
Why The God Complex Is Still A Thing
Virtually every non-emergency condition has dozens of treatment options. Can we agree that the only one who can pick the perfect treatment for you is you? Great!
So, why do so many doctors still make godly proclamations to their subjects (read “patients”)?
Maybe it’s because of they way doctors are taught.
Student interns are frequently shamed in front of their peers and patients because they don’t know the answers to a series tough rapid-fire questions. Dr. Dhruv Khullar, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School had this to say in a NY Times article:
(the latin word doctor literally means teacher)
Here’s the thing…
There’s some research that patient satisfaction with a doctor is higher when that doctor projects certainty.
For me personally, it’s the exact opposite. I don’t trust a doctor who only gives me one option. I know that even advanced blood tests and MRIs can give false positives. I know there’s always a choice to be made.
Cast Your Vote
Which healthcare provider would leave you feeling more satisfied with you care?
The God-Complex Doctor
“Here’s your diagnosis and this is what you need to do. (Take it or leave it)”
The Doctor Teacher
“Here’s the mostly likely diagnosis, but there’s a chance that it could be one of these other ones. I’d like to do x, y, and z with you and then re-evaluate your problem in 2 weeks to see if the treatment is working.”
Am I really in the minority for choosing doctor #2 – the doctor teacher? Let’s see…
Do You Hate multiple choice questions?
Tell me why you picked what you did? Head to the comments section.