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trust the doctor

Can We Still Trust the Doctor?


When I was growing up, I learned to trust my doctor. My parents never said that explicitly; I could see it in their actions. 

I was in the hospital many times growing up, sometimes for very serious reasons. I have eight siblings, and I’m one of the elders, so I was there on the numerous occasions my mother gave birth. I was also there when my brother split his head open with the claw of a hammer, and of course, I was there for the stitches and broken bones I suffered myself.

Whenever we entered the hospital, we did so with the utmost respect and reverence. As the doctors and nurses busied themselves about with serious and commanding countenance, my father would marvel at the technology and the expertise required to marshal it all for the betterment of humanity. 

Whatever the opinion, whatever the diagnosis, my parents would follow the doctor’s advice and prescription, to the letter.

Put succinctly, doctors and nurses were to be trusted, sometimes with our lives.

By contrast, my parents did not treat other professional activities with the same regard. My father depended on car mechanics at times, but he did so grudgingly. He was always suspicious that the diagnosis was incorrect, and that his own personal research into the issue was warranted before he accepted the conclusion. We had several shop manuals on our shelves in the garage.

Likewise, building contractors were treated with some suspicion. Do-it-yourself was always present as a valid option.

But question a doctor? Never.

Being healthy in my twenties, I didn’t make a trip to the hospital in the 80s, and it wasn’t until the late 90s that my awareness of medicine reemerged. My aging father had suffered a heart attack, and being overweight with high blood pressure, he was prescribed multiple medications. He trusted the doctor, and dutifully took his pills as instructed.

On a few occasions, he had a couple of his medications pulled for newly discovered side effects, and they were quickly replaced with others. This was only mildly concerning. But then in the 2000s we started hearing about the failure of many pharmaceutical drugs, some catastrophically so. 

Doctors seemingly trusted the pharmaceutical companies, and we trusted doctors. Millions of people suffered and many died as a result. 

Did the doctors question the pharmaceutical products before prescribing them to their patients? I’m sure many did, but unfortunately, it seems many more did not. 

My father ultimately died in 2010 from his third heart attack. The surgical stents clearly prolonged his life. But did the medications prolong his life? It’s not clear. 

Fast forward to today. 

I went for a check-up in the fall, and the nurse asked me if I was interested in a Covid vaccination. If I had any questions I was to ask the doctor when he arrived. So I did. I asked somewhat searchingly, “What are your feelings about the vaccine with all that’s happened and all we found out in the past year?” 

“Well, “ he responded with a straight face, “from all the medical research papers I have read, the vaccines are safe and effective.” 

I sat in dumbfounded silence. At a bare minimum, he should know at least not to use that phrase. 

Why again are we wearing masks when we are in the doctor’s office? They don’t work. 

Then there are the endless emails from my health care provider promoting the vaccine for everyone: adults, children, compromised or not, comorbidities or not. There is no reference to any potential qualifiers. Everyone should get it. 

Have they not been paying attention?

Here’s where my head is at. 

In the last ten years, health care expenses have risen dramatically, almost tripling. Yes, the health of my family is the most important thing to me. But now I question the advice that I’m getting.

Like my dad with the car mechanics, now, every time I get advice or a prescription from the doctor, I have to look it up myself. This goes beyond a second opinion. And it goes beyond what’s even possible in the case of car problems or construction problems. For those problems, if I’m moderately lucky, I’ll find someone on the Internet who made that repair and follow their advice.

Prescription drugs? Not so easy. The information is there on the Internet, but it’s often contradictory, and sometimes nothing matches what your doctor said. Then there’s the sheer magnitude of prescription drugs available.

Do it yourself? Impossible. Trust the government to police the pharmaceutical companies? Impossible. We’ve seen the incest there. 

There is only one solution. It’s the same answer as it was for my father: trust your doctor.

A simple message to doctors and nurses: Our lives are better when we trust you. But right now, many of us are hesitant; we have been burned by the Covid nonsense in the last three years. Our loved ones have suffered, and we don’t see common sense from the medical establishment.

Many of you stood up in the past three years, putting your careers on the line for the truth and the health of your patients. Thank you. 

Many of you have laid low, promoted your medical organization’s message, even if you had misgivings. Maybe you trusted the government and Big Pharma too much. 

Here’s what we need from you:

  • Critical regard for pharmaceutical products – you can’t just accept the word of the company hawking the product, or the FDA.
  • Clear and open communication with your patients – if you don’t know something, say so. If you don’t trust something, say it louder.
  • Critical regard for your own medical organization – we all know they have a message they want to promote. You must separate yourself to retain medical integrity.
  • Above all, treat your patient as an individual – there are no general treatments, the same for everyone. Each person is unique, and depends on you for singular focused treatment.

All our lives are better if we can trust our doctors. 

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  • Alan Lash

    Alan Lash is a software developer from Northern California, with a Masters Degree in Physics and a PhD in Mathematics.

    View all posts

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