Friday, September 16, 2016

1695 Doctors As Seen on TV

Image result for medical symbol
One of our favorite heavy bags is Mehmet Oz. This bird has a rep as a master thoracic surgeon and has parlayed it into a professorship at an Ivy League college and a popular television show.


You can’t blame him, really.  Medicine, even thoracic surgery doesn’t pay as well as it used to, what with the harsh realities of Obamacare. So Oz spends a few days a week (probably three) taping his five day a week television show.


He’s handsome.  He’s warm and friendly. He’s the kind of guy you wish your daughter would marry.  He’s also a first magnitude huckster and the other day, he switched from miracle weight loss herbal supplements to political candidates.


Make that one political candidate, another world class huckster, Donald Trump. The two men laughed and joked their way through Trumps until- now secret medical report.


Hey, Ozzie… did you actually examine the patient? No? So how do you know whether any of the claptrap you were fed and then turned around and fed to your audience of hypochondriacs contained a molecule of truth?


You can prance and dance. You can offer theatrical- grade empathy, but you can’t know.  


At least CNN’s medical reporter, Sanjay Gupta, will admit he can’t perform diagnosis by television or telepathy.


Gupta is to neurosurgery as Oz is to thoracic.  Famous, professorial, accomplished, skilled with a scalpel and a pitch.


Then there’s Dr. Ian Smith.  He’s less well known but also skilled and personable. NBC and VH1 are his areas of expertise. But he too walks a fine line in the recommendation department.


(Aside: Dr. Smith, amiable and knowledgeable, is African American.  What kind of African American mother gives her son the name of one of the most vicious late-era white supremacists on the African continent?)


Doctor Drew is in a class by himself. He not only diagnoses through the ether albeit in the most cautious of terms, he does not restrict himself to his stated field of expertise, addiction.


And then there’s Doctor Phil.  He’s not an MD and therefore not restricted to stogy and restrictive medical ethics when he gives those picture in a minute psychological evaluations to his guests.


And he insists that his show is “only” entertainment.


Ask your own doctor a question like this:  Doc, my brother in law has been complaining of headaches. I should I give him Tylenol, Advil or an aspirin… or just put an ice pack on his head?


The only legitimate answer would be “I’d have to see the patient and his chart. I can’t diagnose or recommend anything without first putting him on the table, listening to his complaint, questioning him and examining him.”


Trolling for patients and a paycheck, you think?  Absolutely not.


So the next time you hear or see one of the tele-docs prescribing or almost prescribing for Donald Trump or anyone else, turn off the set or go back to watching “Fear Factor” or “The O’Reilly Factor” or something else you know in advance is fiction.


Paraphrase of the day:
-“He’s a disgrace.” -- Former soldier Colin Powell, (R- Banana Kelly) when asked about Donald Trump.


Shrapnel:
--Let’s hear it for people who know what they don’t know.  They are the least likely to tell you what to do and in what order.  And they’re the least likely to issue “shoulds,” “ought-as” and “have tos.”


--They’re building a bridge to nowhere in this neighborhood.  Wait… that’s not right, they’re building a bridge to a golf course.  Wait... that IS right.


--All those head injuries may mean an eventual end to football, a pretty dangerous “sport.” But soon they’ll connect golf and skin cancer.  Then maybe they’ll end that misuse of open land and exclusivity.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

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