Specialization has its benefits and drawbacks.
The most obvious benefit is that it allows someone to study a subject/topic in-depth. Possibly even more in-depth than anyone else has ever done. And this could be a great benefit to everybody else.
The obvious drawback is that when this happens, the advanced subject matter can be too complex for the average person to understand or comprehend. Now let’s look at doctors.
It takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. Then four more years for medical school. This is followed by three to seven years in residency and fellowships to further specialize.
That’s a lot of time and a lot of knowledge and experience. Far removed from the average layman.
So, doctors are held up as an almost-holy bastion of authority within our society.
Rightfully so to some degree…but we also have to look at the dark side of this pattern.
All that education (which is ultimately funded and therefore created by pharmaceutical, and medical device companies) means a doctor is “in-doctor-inated” into a specific way of thinking and viewing the world. One that generally doesn’t allow for outside viewpoints (aka anything in alternative medicine). Some doctors become so ego-driven by all of this authoritative expertise that they develop a “how dare anybody questions me” attitude.
Now that is on the doctor’s side. But what about the patient?
You and I understand the doctor did all this schooling. We understand doctors are smart people (probably smarter than you or I). They do have authority and expertise. Our culture holds them up in this way. So you should listen to them, right? After all, who has the time to actually study a health topic that in-depth themselves? This combination of factors and more is why the responsibility of health has been largely given blindly to doctors.
But there the problem lies. The average doctor sees 20 patients per day. Even if that doctor cares, really cares about you…they can’t possibly care as much as you do. They do not have the same skin in the game as you do for yourself and your family.
So, ultimately, where should responsibility lie?
If the interest is in health, it MUST start there.
This does not mean “do not listen” to your doctor. You should, …just not blindly.
I know there’s this idea that you shouldn’t confuse your Google search with a medical degree. Sure, if you spend fifteen minutes, or blindly believe the first thing you read is good advice. But also, a doctor’s proper place is as an advisor. They should not be the only one (after all, that is why second and third opinions are important). But you also might want to look at not just talking to doctors, but functional medicine specialists, acupuncturists, health coaches, natural doctors, nutritionists, etc. (I know many doctors would laugh at this idea…but many of these alternative practitioners have just as much schooling.)
Different worldviews. Different advice. And ultimately your health choices are yours.
Self-responsibility in health. This MUST be the starting point of our new health paradigm.
Rooting for your self-responsibility!