Listen to the Experts

One of the fascinating, surprising (to me, at any rate) aspects of medicine is just how many people hold strong opinions about its practice, unconstrained by any formal education or training.  

Noted medical expert Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo railed against “’out of touch’ television doctors spreading controversial opinions in regards to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  The old white guy TV docs who say stupid selfish s— should yes… walk that s— right back… to your lazy boys and sit your stupid a–es down in your living rooms on your golf courses where you live.  Tired out of touch old fools don’t get me started today.”

“Controversial” according to whom, the equally learned media?  And why just “old white guys”?  I’m an actual practicing physician, 59, horribly Caucasian, and a total contrarian.  Do I report somewhere for reeducation?

The TV docs Pompeo refers to are Dr Oz, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and Dr Phil (cue laugh track). 

“Dr. Oz said that the idea of reopening schools despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak sounded like an ‘appetizing opportunity’ because the opening of schools ‘may only cost 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality.’” What Oz lacks in rhetorical adroitness, he makes up in marketing acumen.  I always thought he was one megachurch short of joining the big time, and he hasn’t let me down.

Dr. Phil said, “The economy is crashing around us and they’re doing that because people are dying because of coronavirus.  I get that, but look, the fact of the matter is we have people dying—45,000 people a year die from automobile accidents, 480,000 from cigarettes, 360,000 from swimming pools—but we don’t shut the country for that. But yet, we’re doing it for this and the fallout is going to last for years because people’s lives are being destroyed.”  I guess a clinical psychologist who has become a multi-millionaire on the backs of people’s penchant for public self-abasement is not allowed any otherwise reasonable musing outside of the herd.  Surely Dr. Pompeo would have cheered him if he had walked the Hollywood line.

Dr. Drew Pinsky really stepped in it:  “March 2 appearance on KTLA-TV, the Pasadena-born doctor said he was upset about the ‘press-induced panic’ caused by the disease.”  Oh boy, am I ever glad I never said anything so intolerable in public.  Pinsky later got his mind right, following up with “I wish I had gotten it right, but I got it wrong.”  That’s an impressive degree of contrition from someone who made a fortune exploiting C-list has-been celebrity addicts on a reality show.

Dr. Pompeo put everyone in their place with “Hi, Drew, Oz, and Phil. Until you start behaving like real doctors, Imma (sic) call you by your first names.  I love this because …They have been so busy in their dressing rooms getting their faces powdered and worrying about their ratings …they have no idea what doctors and healthcare professionals on the front lines actually do or they just don’t care.” Celebrity actor-doctors who don’t have to worry about their next paycheck or about being around actual patients are the heroes we need, able to carry on in a leadership role without any sense of irony.

Get our awesome newsletter by signing up here. We don’t give your email out and we won’t spam you

Join 3,621 other subscribers

171710cookie-checkListen to the Experts