Whats wrong with doctors

Last night I read an article in the New York Review of Books (May 31, 2007). The article is called What’s Wrong with Doctors (written by Jerome Groopman, a cancer specialist).  The article (and the book) is about the current Medical System. It shows everything that is wrong with this system.

The most important problem, according to Groopman, is that doctors Think. This problem is enforced by the fact that they don’t take the time to listen to themselves (introspection) and their patients. The doctor is acting as a “Rule-Based”-system that acts on the variables that are put into the system. He sees what he wants to see because his focus is on “fast delivery” of a solution. The patient is not important. He or she is just “a mean to an end” and the mean is making a lot of money in short time (“efficiency”) and/or achieving status.

Groopman attacks “Evidence Based Medicine”. This approach is based on statistics. The whole problem with statistics is comparable to the “rule-based-system”-approach. Again statistics just shows what you want to see. Statistics is a method to find patterns but the problem with patterns is that there is an infinite amount of patterns possible in every situation. In statistics you have to choose a “pattern-type” (for instance the pattern is linear) otherwise the whole approach is not working.

Groopman shows that statistics make doctors lazy. They trust somebody else (the bright guys) and don’t think for themselves anymore. Doctors have to be “lazy-thinkers” because they don’t have the time to think because they have to produce fast-solution. So the problem is not that they are thinking but the real problem is that they are not thinking at all. They are acting as robots.

The pharmaceutical industry helps doctors to deliver fast solutions. They provide super-pills that solve everything. They provide doctors directly with corrupted information about the huge statistical effects of their inventions. To make the doctors happy they also provide them with gifts (luxury tours disguised in a conference).

The above is just the start of the attack on the medical system. Groopman digs deeper and shows that the fundamental problem is that we cannot fully understand the context of the patient. Everybody patient is unique and has a unique solution that brings him in balance.

Groopman shows that knowledge (thinking again) is a big burden to understand a context. Knowledge acts as a filter. Knowledge shows just what it knows. This problem is related to the doctor and the patient. Both know something (I’m having a problem, I can solve the problem) but their “knowing” shields the real context.

How can we ever solve this problem? The solution is really very simple. We can solve the problem by “not-thinking”. If we are “not-thinking” we know everything. Deep within us (in the great unknown) lays the solution waiting. We don’t want to know this solution because it will destroy our patterns and patterns are what make us feel comfortable.

The patient knows the solution already and wants conformation from a loving and caring person who gives him the confidence that his process of change will get him in a new balance.

The best caretakers are not found in the medical system. They are good friends or people with the gift of healing that can support the person to make the “unknown” know.

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