“Doctors Tell All—and It’s Bad”


In The Atlantic, Meghan O’Rourke reviews a number of recent books authored by physicians and finds they’re all talking about “a corrosive doctor-patient relationship at the heart of our health-care crisis.”

“Ours is a technologically proficient but emotionally deficient and inconsistent medical system that is best at treating acute, not chronic, problems: for every instance of expert treatment, skilled surgery, or innovative problem-solving, there are countless cases of substandard care, overlooked diagnoses, bureaucratic bungling, and even outright antagonism between doctor and patient,” writes O’Rourke. “For a system that invokes ‘patient-centered care’ as a mantra, modern medicine is startlingly inattentive—at times actively indifferent—to patients’ needs. To my surprise, I’ve now learned that patients aren’t alone in feeling that doctors are failing them. Behind the scenes, many doctors feel the same way. And now some of them are telling their side of the story.”

Doctors Tell All—and It’s Bad (The Atlantic, November 2014)


  1. I can speak to the outright antagonism between patient and doctor.

    I went to a new, young doctor and when I refused to go on a statin that he insisted that I was going to take he told me that I would take the drug and that was that. He basically told me that I had no choice in the matter, I think his exact words were, “If you think you’re going to be one of those patients that will do X, won’t do Y, and will maybe do Z, you’ve got another think coming!” When he said that I had no choice I pointed to my feet and replied that I did have another choice. When he asked what I meant I smiled, got up, and walked out of that office, never to return.

    So, it’s not just psychiatrists who think that they can force people into doing things, all specialties of medicine seemed to be contaminated with this attitude that the doctors know better than we do about what we need. How dare them. I refuse to be treated like this by anyone, least of all by doctors.

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