I’m all for doctors and medicine trying to be as objective as possible, but it’s just so damn cute when doctors think they actually are objective. As if we don’t bring our own values and assumptions to the table. I’m doing well-child checkups this week at a county health clinic. I walk in, see a 9 month old baby, a 40-something year-old woman, and a 16 year-old girl, and immediately turn to introduce myself to the 40-something year-old woman, because clearly she’s the mother of this child; 16 year-olds don’t have babies!
I cringe every time I recall this story.
Next is the number of superstitions we go through as physicians (luck and superstition are clearly objective, too). For example, I will never, ever mention how a day or night of call is going smoothly, or how quiet the pager has been, or how empty the floor is. I will think it, and consider bringing it up for casual conversation, but it stops there; for if I mention anything to that effect, I will jinx the team and we’ll magically have 20 new admissions that night. I know this is totally crazy, but I totally, 100% abide by this. I don’t know that I totally believe it, but I’d much rather keep my mouth shut and hopefully have fewer admissions.
And it’s only medical things that I’m superstitious of, which makes it even more ridiculous–in the medical world, where we base everything on risk, benefit, and predictions from data and randomized, double-blind controlled trials, I truly act in a certain way, hoping my behavior will somehow influence the outcome.