How to be an Authentic Doctor #7: You Have To Fight Back

Doesn’t it seem that every time you turn around you read something negative in the paper or see something bad about us doctors on TV?   Doesn’t every surgeon operate on the wrong leg?  Aren’t all doctors in cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry?  Doesn’t every doctor make life-threatening misdiagnoses each day? While we do have organizations that supposedly represent us (not), nowhere do I see enough of our peers speaking out against doctor bashing.  The truth is that we are horrible at sticking up for ourselves.


Unfortunately, physicians are easy targets.  It is so politically incorrect these days to pick on many groups.  Even terrorists and organized crime get a pass, but physicians are fair game.  I am not sure why that is.  Maybe because people still see doctors as middle-age, rich, white men.  In reality, half of doctors are women.  The diversity of nationalities and races involved in our profession continues to grow to the point that you can’t truly stereotype a physician.  What is accurate is that we are not a very political bunch.  We tend to sit back and take our lumps instead of fighting back.  Some would call this spineless and they may be right.  I believe this occurs not because we are lazy but because we are too busy doing the job of taking care of patients.

Being a doctor is a noble profession.  I challenge the CEOs of some managed care companies making $19 million a year to say the same about themselves.  We are respected because we directly help people.  What we do for a living truly matters.  This is not to knock other professions (except lawyers, of course) but just to point out the importance of our job.  We are the men, the women, the old and the young who work very hard trying to heal or save lives.  We are the Black, the White, the Hispanic, and so many more who have sacrificed years of our lives in the journey to get to stand in front a patient and say, “How can I help?”

I bring this topic up because when the media jumps on the doctor bashing bandwagon it adds to the ever-increasing problem of burnout.  The pressures of lawsuits, technology, new coding changes, electronic medical records, moronic administrators, absurd legislators and greedy managed care companies have made it difficult for us to keep our chins up.  All this adds up to doctors caring less about their jobs and resulting in an exodus of physicians from our profession.  In my heart I believe that physicians are still the good guys.  We just need to stand up for ourselves more.  This brings me to the following joke.

A reporter goes to interview the oldest man in America who lives in a nearby small town.  He is 108 years old.  When he gets to the gentleman’s home he sees him on the porch with a beautiful 24 year-old woman.  In addition there are tons of relatives around of all ages, including a bunch of little kids running around.

The reporter introduces himself and asks him the relationship of the young woman next to him.

“This is my wife!”

“I’m sorry.  Really?  And these kids?”

“They’re mine!”

“Hmmm.  But…I mean…how?”

“Well, every night four of my older sons who live around here come over and set me on top of her.  Ever morning, eight of my older sons come back and lift me off her”.

The young woman shakes her head in acknowledgement.

“But….okay…well, why do you only need four sons at night to set you on top of her but eight sons to lift you off in the morning”

The old man makes a fist and violently shakes it in the air and states, “because I fights’em!!”

First of all, I love this joke, stupid as it may be.  To me, this joke is a metaphor for what we need to do as physicians.  Every time we get bashed by the Medical Axis of Evil (Big Pharma, Lawyers, Insurance Companies), we need to FIGHTS’EM!!!!  Every time we get bashed by a moronic bunch of bureaucrats, we need to FIGHTS’EM!!!!  Every time we get bashed by the media, we need to FIGHTS’EM!!!!


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] 

  10 comments for “How to be an Authentic Doctor #7: You Have To Fight Back

  1. private doc
    March 29, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I turned in my state agency for trying to withhold rightful payments. They responded but now the precerts have gotten ridiculous (well we don’t know if that patient needs an EGD for GI bleeding). I think I pissed them off. Good pack of thieves anyway LOL.

  2. DrPhil
    March 29, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Oh – no patient complaints, only the board and other doctors connected to the board…

  3. DrPhil
    March 29, 2014 at 2:13 am

    I fought back and the medical board are still reaming me several years and even more complaints since…

  4. R Watkins
    March 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    “we need to FIGHTS’EM!!!!”

    So how do we do that? The medical societies that should be leading us into battle are completely MIA.

    • Doug Farrago
      March 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Keep reading and my “How to be an Authentic Doctor” should include some tips

  5. Sir-Lance-a-Lot
    March 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Thank you.

    Oh, and I made a typo: out —> our.

  6. Sir-Lance-a-Lot
    March 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

    You want to know what I think we need to do, Doug?


    Nothing at all.

    You want to see some changes?
    If you can postulate that all, or a large majority, of doctors can, and will do any one single thing (which I doubt, but that’s a different discussion), then that thing is NOTHING.

    All at once.

    On the same day.

    Just don’t go to work.
    Don’t do any charts.
    Don’t go to any meetings.
    Don’t see any patients.

    Yes, a few surgeons should be available to remove appendices, or stent coronaries, but, even in the ER, leave one guy, who, because of the understaffing, has to activate the disaster protocol and turn away anyone who isn’t really sick.

    Just a one-day strike to make out point about EMRs, non-physician management, BS goals and standards, and lack of the ability to actually practice medicine.

    I’d love to see it.

    • Doug Farrago
      March 28, 2014 at 11:05 am


      • Sir-Lance-a-Lot
        March 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

        Thank you.

        Oh, and I made a typo: out —> our.

        … and I also misplaced my reply.

    • Pat
      March 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      That would be the most encouraging moment in modern medicine. Oh how the cowardly AMA would squeal about ethics and duty. Remember how they treated the brave delegate who made a motion that non-emergency physicians refuse to treat malpractice lawyers?

      The only power we have left – the only power we need – is the ability to choose whether or not to work. If ever we en masse’ exercise that choice, stand by for a powerful government response.

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