My Nomination Goes To… by Pat Conrad MD

Over the years, in the wee hours on slow shifts or due to lingering occupational insomnia, I’ll catch a few minutes of one of the various “reality” shows, always adding adding prayers of gratitude that I’m neither marrying a “Bridezilla” or named “Kardashian.”  One of my favorites in recent years was of course, “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”  Taking the cast of B-list misfits, reliables like Gary Busey and MacKenzie phillips, and mixing them in with models-in-angst, a Baldwin or two, and Jeff Conaway was hilarious for a sick sense of humor like mine.  And no, I don’t apologize for it.  In one episode I remember a strung out blonde flopping on to the floor in apparent seizures, prompting a big hullabaloo and being a great bumper promo.  The show was a joke, probably designed by B-list managers to relaunch faded stars, while burnishing the shine of the host, Dr. Drew Pinsky.
The blonde flopping on the floor was one Mindy McCready, dead by her own hand yesterday at age 37.  After repeated suicide attempts, overdoses, chemical and (apparently, sexual) addictions, the fifth of Dr. Drew’s celebrity rehab patients has died.  Dr. Drew said, “When I heard she was struggling, I did reach out to her and urged her to go to take care of herself, get in a facility if she felt she needed.”  Good advice, that.
Do I blame Pinsky for the deaths of McCready, Conaway, Rodney King, et al?  Of course not.  Every day many of us that are practicing clinicians come face to face with mental illness.  These patients present on a spectrum ranging from despair beyond description, to utter, melodramatic bullshit that clogs up ER’s and clinics with the worried well and the annoying, leaving less time, energy, and compassion for those with serious problems.
There is nothing sadder than real depression, nothing scarier than the flat affect of an imminent suicide, or the screams of a manic break that I have stared in the face during a busy shift.  I’m no psychiatrist, but I do know that addictions and real underlying Axis I disorders need treatment that is serious, thoughtful, and private.  Even if in group therapy, like the hard work done in 12-step programs, the grinding, wrenching work to get better is not being pursued seriously if it is performed as a public spectacle.  And if such work is not performed seriously, then it is not being done at all, to the great danger of that patient which is afflicted by more than a slow movie or singing career.
In recent days, another celebu-doc has come in for deserved criticism on this blog.  And while that criticism is more than deserved, I’m giving Drew Pinsky my nomination as “Dr.Douche” of the year.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “My Nomination Goes To… by Pat Conrad MD

  1. Norton
    February 20, 2013 at 8:31 am

    While Dr. Drew is a worthy choice for your Dr. Douche title, no such discussion could be complete without at least honorable mention of Dr. Phil. What a load. I haven’t seen his garbage of a show in several years, but the last time I did his tag-line was something along the line of “You either get it or you don’t”. Hey Phil…..I don’t get it. Neither does anybody else that has an IQ larger than their shoe size. People that watch crap like that on TV probably think Deliverance was a love story.

    • Pat
      February 20, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      That’s funny!

Comments are closed.