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Doctor = God

Remember the post a day or two ago about the supposedly ‘fat’ baby?

Well the discussion thread exploded after someone (not me I swear!) posted criticism of the mother’s actions and her Doctor’s point of view. And here’s the thing which didn’t really surprise me, but did sadden me; almost all the posters came out in support of the mother. A Doctor had said the baby was too fat, they said. Only a bad mother would discount that! The feeling was that a Doctor’s – any Doctor’s –  opinion was *obviously* correct and those of us who questioned it were stupid.

I wanted to post. I wanted to direct them to Junkfood Science and First, Do No Harm – both sites which show conclusively that Doctors are as susceptible to prejudice as the rest of us, and they let it affect their work. But would it do any good? When you’re up against that level of entrenched false belief – that fat is bad, and a fat baby is unhealthy – is it possible to affect any change?

I don’t understand why people put Doctors on pedestals. Medical professionals are people who are indoctrinated with the idea that fat = bad. Some have taken account of the studies that show otherwise, and let their common sense and the reality which they see day to day overturn those beliefs. Others, lazier perhaps, or less questioning, have clung to them. But the public… have they *never* come across a Doctor who’s gotten it wrong? Thalidomide? The cancer scandal at National Women’s Hospital*? Do I need to continue?

Ignorance is one thing… willful stupidity is another.

(* = Called ‘The Unfortunate Experiment’ New Zealand women were not told they possibly had cervical cancer, so that a Doctor could test his (incorrect) theory about how best to treat it. The scandal was eventually broken by two journalists in the 1980’s. More information is available here.)


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