My wife and I just got back from a trip to Colorado and included a couple of days in Aspen. What does this have to do with a medical blog? Stick with me.
Aspen is a beautiful place. Gorgeous drives in and out of town. Beautiful landscaping all over town. Apparently great ski runs.
We felt very out of place!
So what’s the problem?
There was an approximately 4-5 square block area just below the ski runs that (not having spent much time in NY or LA) flaunted the most conspicuous consumption I have ever seen! And this was in the non skiing season.
Ultra high end ski resorts-Hyatts, St Regis… Ski stores that will custom make your skis for you. Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry. Boutique womens and men’s clothing stores-Gucci, Dior, Zegna. Restaurants that you can’t get out of for less than $100a piece -without alcohol.
The people driving around in obscenely expensive cars, and maybe walking, were attired in obviously expensive clothes that were either tastefully elegant or wildly gaudy.
And there were many older men that appeared to be having dinner with someone their daughters’ age, but didn’t behave like they were their daughter!
The whole point of everything in this area seemingly was to shout out to everyone around “Look at me! See how rich and successful I am!”
I have an acronym I just made up-O.W.D. Ostentatious Wealth Display!
What does this have to do with Authentic Medicine?
Well, some Doctors do this too. Maybe not quite to the extent that that small area of Aspen does, but many still flaunt their wealth with houses, cars, jewelry, clothes and, worst of all, attitude.
Everything about them says “I’m better than you!”
First of all, most “Authentic” doctors don’t do this.
Second, it is highly insulting to the staff you work with and your patients to act like this.
Your staff works nearly as hard as you do, maybe not for quite the hours you do, and displays like this just rub it in their nose that you make a lot more money than they do.
And your patients feel that the huge costs they incur for medical care and insurance is to support your lifestyle when most of the blame should go to hospitals and insurance companies. (Doug has documented this for years)
You are a physician. You are smart, you spent your best years studying and working hard and you deserve to be paid better than someone who did none of that .
But just don’t flaunt it everywhere you go.
O.W.D. It’s gross!