Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doctors and arrogance

I know a lot of arrogant doctors. I probably am an arrogant doctor. It's probably a good general statement for lawyers and businessmen too, but it's definitely a trend in doctors.

For one, I think it's a self-selecting group. Not many people can say that they want the responsibility of caring for someone else's life. And if you think about it, it takes a certain amount of arrogance to think that you are capable of doing such a thing. In fact, it takes an even greater amount of arrogance to do something wrong the first time around (potentially really affecting someone else's life) and try to do it again. But the surgeon who started the first heart transplant failed something like 5 times before he succeeded. Meaning the first 4 times, someone died. It takes a lot of guts to keep doing something like that with those potential consequences. But in the end, it can mean great strides in medicine positively affecting the lives of thousands of people.

Secondly, I think a certain amount of arrogance can be good for doctors as well as patients. If a doctor had a personality that beat themself up every time they made a mistake, they wouldn't survive. Every doctor makes mistakes once in a while, no matter how good they are. Some mistakes of course are more costly than others. But in the end, you have to be able to move past it, learn from it, and never ever do it again. On the patient care side, the last thing any patient wants to see is that his doctor is uncertain. If a doctor is undecided about a certain course of action, of course they should admit it, but once a course of action has been decided upon, the doctor should be very confident about it. I think if a doctor is visibly uncertain about something, that definitely adds to the patient's stress. I think it also makes the patient lose confidence (subconsciously) in the doctor's ability to make medical decisions, etc.

I guess whether good or bad we're stuck with it.


Jerry said...

Hi JoJo,
I don't think you mean arrogance. Arrogance implies haughtiness--implication --Dr. is better than patient. Patients should be treated as an equal by Drs. I think you mean- demonstrate confidence and trust in that confidence. You wouldn't know how to be arrogant. You are too considerate to be arrogant!!!

JoJoJangJang said...

Well thank you for the compliment - I agree with you, confidence is probably a better word. However, I also think that there can be a fine, sometimes indistinguishable line between arrogance and confidence.