You’ll Be Fine by Pat Conrad MD

For years I have gotten laughs from non-medical, administrative types in health care, saying that it would be easy for them to step into my shoes, with just one simple skill.  I’ve maintained that any CEO, CFO, or credentialing assistant could slap on a white coat, stethoscope, and start seeing patients if they could just deliver one simple phrase:  “You’ll be fine.”  Of course, it took me all of med school and residency, and a number of years to be able to master the timing, meter, tone, facial expression, and overall sincerity of marketing that makes that phrase an effective treatment.

I’m half-joking, but it makes the point.  Really, what the hell is the purpose of this zany profession anyway?  Who are we trying to serve, and how?  I always understood the goal was to help people feel better, and to have longer, happier lives, through reassurance among other means.  But what people?  Doesn’t “authentic” medicine involve the occasional tough love, kick in the pants, and admonition to join with the physician in collaboration toward the client’s better state?  I don’t want to be judgmental or preachy in the exam room, and apart from my area of expertise, I don’t want to tell ANYBODY what to do.  We have an entire city and political apparatus already handling that just fine.  In fact, I don’t even want to tell patients what to do as much as I want to advise them and stand back as they make the call.

(get our free weekly newsletter. no spam. ever

But what a sort of patient is a world gone mad increasingly producing?  Medicare holds a doctor liable if he cannot speak Swahili or Spanish and cannot afford a translator; doctors have been threatened for referring to the morbidly obese as “fat”; mandatory transgenderism celebration for providers is right around the corner.  Yes these are all minority cases, but it’s all too common for patients to want a pain pill, nerve pill, sleep pill, or mood pill for minor annoyances.  In the hands of a institutionalized wispiness, even reassurance becomes a toxin.  What is happening to our reserves of stoicism, resilience, and dang ol’ toughness?  After reading these revelations about our newest healers, professional cuddlers, I really have to wonder.  We were taught in medical training to seek to really get to know our patients.  I’m not sure how to reach a patient that would pay $80/hour for cuddling, but demands free health care, and doubt I would want to.


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]