Here is a nice letter letter from a reader who shares his soul. He gave permission to put it out on the blog:
I just wanted to write to you about the medical profession from the viewpoint of an outsider. True, I have an MD degree and have worked for years mostly in urgent care, but I admit that I don’t fit. I have officially been told that.
After having a malignant melanoma and being lied to about a contract at the HMO I was working I decided, while waiting to see if I would die or not, to work at something I have always loved, the bicycle business. I am pleased to report that I did not die or even have a recurrence and so decided to resume my career. But I wasn’t allowed to do that because doctors don’t work in bicycle shops as the medical board told me. Was I on drugs or something? I had shown that I wasn’t devoted enough to be a doctor, but they would maybe, just maybe let me practice if I paid for what turned out to be a year’s worth of psychiatric evaluation, an MMPI, and a SPEX exam, all at my expense of course,
On one of my last visits to the psychiatrist who had been chosen by the medical board (his practice was seeing physicians) I noticed that his diploma was from my medical school, and, taking a chance because of that and the fact that he seemed to be an honest guy, I asked, in effect, why the board were being such a bunch of assholes. After all working in a bike shop isn’t exactly like being a pedophile. And he revealed the truth.
You are not at all like the usual physician, he told me, and you threaten them. My MMPI was that of a creative person and physicians were selected essentially to be OCD so as better to deal with the myriad of facts and details. Mostly this was done by looking at college subjects that had little to do with medicine, like higher math, but were associated with OCD. But OCD comes with a dark side and that’s what I was seeing. Control, money, and paranoia with long memories for perceived slights were part of the deal. Being a caring person wasn’t.
He also said that people who tested like myself almost never went into medicine, and, simply speaking, though I was smart enough, my SPEX scores were high, I wasn’t crazy, but I wasn’t one of them.
I bring this all up to suggest that perhaps one of the larger problems in medicine is the physicians themselves, and how they are chosen. If so the problem is very, very deeply rooted.
I am again pleased to report that everything went well, my license was reinstated, but initially, though I paid for it all, the board actually refused to share the results with me! Eventually, when I complained about it, they did.
Just something to think about. Today, I am out of medicine. Turned 65 today and have had enough.
Scott Miller, MD