What do doctors stand for? Every survey suggests that doctors and nurses stand at the top or near the top for trustworthiness. “Trust me, I am a doctor …” has become a byword and also a parody for trustworthiness. I often say that phrase in a tone which suggests you absolutely should NOT trust me. But of course I really mean to say you should trust me.
Why trust a doctor? Can we trust all doctors? Of course not. Can we trust any doctors? What really matters is not the occupation of the person, but the character of that person. Not the show, the outer facade, but rather the underpinnings of that person, the real person who shines through most when the chips are down.
The chips are now down. Our world is at a turning point. We are at a critical phase where, if we do not take immediate action, we – the world in general, and our health in particular – are at great risk. So when should doctors take a stand, if not now? If we now fail to have that moral backbone, then by what right can our trustworthiness ever be claimed again?
Some would take great exception to this claim. I would argue that those who do so are either ignorant of the facts or in denial of the consequences. I can think of a number of reasons why this might be the case.
Ignorance can be lifted with education. Those who refuse to accept the evidence despite clear information are in two camps; either a refusal to accept the validity of the science (religious dogma, bias against conventional science) or a refusal to accept the evidence as it will affect other areas of concern – political, financial or other affairs of the current norm prevailing in this world.
All of these attitudes deserve nothing but a resounding rejection. We can take action despite such people. Well, we could, if there were not a bigger problem than ignorance, whether by misfortune or wilful blindness. What could be a bigger problem?
The bigger problem is us. The silent majority. We look on as our climate changes, and seek to minimise or deflect. We look at the rise in multi-drug-resistant bacteria and continue to demand – and get! – antibiotics for viral infections. For both climate change and resurgent infectious diseases we can see the consequences in millions, if not billions, of deaths.
I can not speak for other areas, but I do know about the medical profession., and our attitudes towards the biggest threat facing our society since the dinosaur-obliterating asteroid impact. One would expect us to be a highly educated subset of the population, and you would be right. But how many doctors have you heard speak out, loudly and publicly, about this major threat to the wellness of every single person on this planet?
A few? No more?
Is it apathy, then? It cannot be a lack of education. Do we really not care as a society? We are plunging headlong into an imminent catastrophe, and the ones you expect to stand up for wellness are mostly sitting back, enclosed in the bubble of life that represents our horizons – busyness and a focus on the minutiae directly in front of us.
Let me settle down for a moment and then get my thoughts together for the next comments on this topic. Until then, happy consumering with the festive distraction from imminent catastrophe.