By ALLAN DOBZYNIAK, MD
So many of the organizations alleging to represent a consensus of individual physicians simply do not. The narrative that equates all physicians with the organizations that claim to represent them is just wrong. Unfortunately, this narrative has become repetitive and increasingly common.
Consider that the American Medical Association has only a membership of around 12 percent of practicing physicians; hence, it does not represent the majority. It has unquestionably become increasingly political in its views. The organization and leadership have moved to the progressive left. Priorities such as “systemic racism,” “social justice” and “equity” have been engaged to clarify its organizational identity of “wokeness.” It has recently dismissed one of its founders with an accusation of past racism. Does anybody want to be judged only by the worst things they have done? I certainly hope that the good things I have done are taken into account when I die. By digging deeply enough into the history of anything or anyone you can always find something to pretend to be upset about, if that is your objective. Dressing up so-called policy to perpetuate an organization’s political and perceived cultural status is self-serving. Doing it dressed in the lofty robes of “morality” is pathetically transparent. Many other of the specialty and sub specialty societies have been infiltrated by similar politics.
Why? You might ask. There are several reasons. Perhaps the smartest physicians are busy practicing medicine, apolitical and functioning within the foundational principles of the medical profession. Additionally physicians are afraid of the potential retribution that can be inflicted by the left’s “cancel culture,” the huge healthcare corporations that employ many physicians, and the horrors of the Medicare/Medicaid punitive bureaucratic megaliths. Physicians are not lawyers; they are ill prepared to engage the heavy handedness of those who are obsessed with controlling them. Sadly, physicians can never be servile enough to satisfy their voracious would be masters.
During this COVID pandemic (pandemonium) to label the medical profession and its physicians as inept on the basis of some binding alliances with certain organizations is wrong. It is well known that the NIH and CDC are governmental organizations. The WHO is suffused with organizational bias having little concern with the exceptional nature of American Healthcare. They and their members are in general not involved in direct patient care. Believe me; those who talk about patient care and do not actually care for them are not to be equated with those who take care of patients but are not those with the loudest rhetorical megaphones. To listen, as many insurance company and hospital system CEOs pontificate about healthcare using the rhetoric du jour infused with “emotional empathy” in an attempt to market something they know almost nothing about, resounds pathetically to those who actually provide care. What has become clear and should now be learned with certainty is that reliance on a small group of so-called technocratic experts is foolish and leads to less than optimal outcomes to say the least.
If you conclude that the systems striving for the control of physicians have become ones that function more through coercion and threats to physicians, you are correct. Healthcare in its beautiful simplicity is not and should not be subject to central control. One doctor interacting with one patient with the physician committed to that patient’s needs and the patient conferring trust based on that commitment is the tradition which cannot be tolerated when population based care managed by faux-physician bureaucrats is the goal, aka socialized medicine, Medicare for All, single payer (take your pick). And yes you are correct in inferring that many of the great advances in medical care have resulted from innovative thinking by physicians, including off label use of pharmaceuticals and innovative procedures in the context of patients’ circumstances and needs. Freedom and independence of physicians functioning within the profession’s ethical foundation are necessary for this to happen.
I am tired of the great mistake. Please do not equate physicians in general and certainly not as individuals with the poison of politics or with so many of the organizations that allege to represent them; they do not.