the doctor will sleep with you now

Am I the only one who found Wilson’s having slept with his cancer patient (on House) particularly disturbing? Sure, I realize that it happens. But Wilson?! And with a terminal patient? That just seems extra wrong because it reeks of taking advantage of somebody at their most vulnerable. Is the sense of closeness that develops between a cancer patient and their oncologist any basis for a meaningful relationship? It doesn’t seem likely to me. What’s left for the patient when the doctor tires of her? Wilson’s cancer patient conveniently found a new lease on life so we can assume that she was okay. But what happens in real life? I’m sure the consequences are much more devastating.

And then there’s Izzie and Denny on Grey’s Anatomy, where she has so clearly shown that her ability to make unbiased-by-personal-feelings judgments has been severely compromised by her amorous feelings for her patient (yes, I realize that’s a huge understatement). Everyone saw what was going on before it came down to its disastrous conlusion. Yet everyone did nothing. How can this be the case when the AMA has clear guidelines regarding sexual misconduct? Whose job is it to make sure these guidelines are followed? Well, I guess it wouldn’t have been any fun if the romance had been nipped in the bud on Grey’s Anatomy.  But I still think that they went too far in portraying such a thing in the first place.  I know, I know.  Doctors are flawed.  But I sincerely hope that they’re not that flawed in real life or else I’m going to have to think twice about the whole med school admissions process.  Shouldn’t these people have been screened out? At least it’s clear that there will be consequences on Grey’s Anatomy—I just hope that they manage to squeeze in some professional ones in the midst of all the oh-so-juicy-more-likely-to-get-high-ratings personal ones so as to send the message that it just might not be okay to become involved in romantic relationships with patients.

Personally, I don’t think doctors should have relationships with their patients outside of the doctor-patient relationship but I don’t at all pretend to be some sort of higher moral being. So I know it’s going to happen. And I know that it doesn’t always blow up in everyone’s faces. However, I find it very disturbing that this kind of behavior is being depicted on TV as if it’s so commonplace and okay. It’s not common (well, if you call around 10% in the US not too common, which I don’t because anything above 0% is too common to an idealist like me) and it’s not okay. And really, do we want patients hitting on us all the time because they want to snag themselves a meal ticket/status symbol/plaything of the week?

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  1. so why do you want to be a doctor? (part 2)Well, because I want to be just like House, of course! Again, I kid you not. Even more than I hear the infamous “I want to be a surgeon because of Grey’s Anatomy” line, I hear the “I want to be a doctor so that I can be just like House” line. Coming mostly from those same starry-eyed high school/college kids, of course. And again, I have to wonder every time I hear such a thing exactly what these kids are thinking, basing their aspirations on a made-up-and-therefore-completely-not real TV show character. But then I have to admit that I’m guilty of a little House worship myself. Not that watching House has made me want to become a doctor since I decided that way before any of these shows that make becoming a doctor seem oh-so-appealing came out. But in that I want to be abrasive like him. Because I’m a little lacking in the warm-and-fuzzy department and it’s nice to see that maybe, just maybe, I just might still make it despite my not-so-warm-and-fuzziness. But I know better than to actually aspire to be him. And just because I find him amusing doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try to be a little more warm-and-fuzzy. I know that a little warm-and-fuzziness goes a much longer way than all that snarkiness that we see on House does. And I would rather not be hated by my patients and colleagues, thank you. So, yes, I like House. And yes, I...
  2. so why do you want to be a doctor? (part 1)Well, because of Grey's Anatomy, I want to become a surgeon. I kid you not. I’ve heard more than one fresh-eyed high school/college kid say something along the lines of, “Grey’s Anatomy is so cool. It makes me want to become a surgeon.” To which I always respond with, “Do you have any idea just how inaccurate Grey’s Anatomy is when it comes to portraying the life of a surgeon?!” And they inevitably respond with, “I know. But it’s still cool.” Now what makes these kids think they know the half of what it’s like to be a doctor, let alone a surgeon based on their absolutely zero experience with the field? All I can do is sigh and hope they’re not serious. Or that if they are, that I can rely on the ever-so-efficient-and-unfailing-to-weed-all-those-unworthy-out medical school admissions process to screen them out. So how exactly does Grey’s Anatomy inaccurately portray the life of a surgeon?* Let me count the ways. (1) They have so much free time! That’s why there’s so much drama. That would so never happen in real life. Not even close. I do believe that in real life, the ability to scarf down your meals faster than any other intern/resident is directly correlated with impressing your attending since you’ll have more time to exhaust yourself doing scutwork. So if there’s not even enough time for decent meals (Ever notice how they sit around in a nice little group and gossip over lunch all the time? So...
  3. who needs a doctor anymore……when all I have to do is use Google? I’m just waiting for my mother-in-law and/or sister-in-law to tell me that and insinuate that it means even less to them now that I’m going to be a doctor since Google can do my job. I can just see my sister-in-law sticking her nose up in the air at me now. My job’s better than yours because Google can’t do it for me (oh, but it can—Google can do everything). It’s already bad enough that patients like my mother-in-law don’t trust doctors—do we have to really make it worse by making it widely known that sometimes, we need to use Google? Really, I’m fine with using Google to look up stuff, even medical stuff, which I was guilty of from time to time during my first two years of med school. But does everyone have to know? I know, I know—patients these days are more informed than ever before. And I’m fine with that. Really, I am. That is, if these patients have enough sense to realize that their internet searches cannot replace all the years of medical training that doctors have received as well as all their years of experience. And my mother-in-law is not one of those people. People like her will turn this study into leverage against doctors when they don’t tell them what they want to hear and every argument otherwise (like the fact that Google wasn’t very good at getting the diagnoses if the symptoms were...

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