April 17th, 2021


What's Up, Medical Professional?

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published March 16, 2018

What's Up, Medical Professional?

When did the terms "doctor" and "physician" become obsolete? I didn't get the memo on that one. Judging from the drug advertising and medical commercials I hear, not to mention the taking heads on TV, the socially correct labels have now become "medical professionals" and "healthcare providers." Pardon me while I vomit into my emesis basin.

If you are arrested for a crime you didn't commit do you ask for a "legal professional?" Hell no, you want a lawyer. And when I'm sick I want a doctor not a medical professional. I know what a doctor is, but a medical professional can be anything. Yes, I know doctors are by definition medical professionals but so are candy stripers at the hospital. It's also true that doctors are healthcare providers but so are insurance companies and band aid manufacturers.

What is this trend in our society today of discarding the traditional names of people and things in favor of more complicated, nebulous descriptions? Hospital became medical center. What's next? Wellness village? Is nurse still the title for a nurse or is it health provider? And if we refer to both nurses and doctors as health providers how do we make the distinction between the two?

Uh oh, maybe that's the point! Make no distinctions between health workers. Everyone is equally important. Hurrah for egalitarianism!

By the way, how come no one refers to pharmaceutical companies as healthcare providers? They certainly are. They provide lifesaving healthcare medicines to millions. But no, to call them healthcare providers would be putting them in a positive light, and we can't do that, can we? Instead they are demonized and called DRUG COMPANIES. You know, like in "those dirty rotten evil price-gouging drug companies." And the industry as a whole is vilified with the negative term, "BIG PHARMA." Meanwhile without their important products many people would die.

The medical profession has been under assault for quite awhile now. Actually ever since some genius first said, "Hey, here's an idea, let's put Hillary Clinton in charge of setting up healthcare for the entire country" things have been going downhill for doctors. Now sadly, as Rodney Dangerfield might have put it, doctors get no respect.

Doctors were always considered members of the most esteemed and honored profession in society. Along with the clergy they are the closest humans we have on earth to God. Everyone admired and revered doctors and with good reason. Your doctor had the knowledge, ability, and desire to cure what ails you. Even when they didn't have all the answers, they had a way of making you feel better offering a comforting word, a positive suggestion, and even a gentle touch.

From what I can tell, as soon as government stuck their nose into the medical profession the doctor's role changed. Today much of their authority has been usurped by big government with new complicated federal and state laws and regulations, many of which are in a constant state of flux. Doctors are drowning in mandatory paperwork demanded by government agencies. Valuable physician time and resources, which could and should be focused on the patients, are taken up instead in regulation nonsense. Not good.

And here's the scary part.

When you consider how much the government is involved with a doctor's practice it's almost as if the once respected, independent physician has become nothing more than just another government employee --- the medical equivalent of the U.S. Post Office or Department of Motor Vehicles. Say, isn't that called socialized medicine? It may be oozing in through the backdoor slowly, but it's socialized medicine nevertheless. And see how well that worked out for the VA?

It may be only a matter of time before big government takes over all healthcare in this country completely (shudder!). In the meantime I'll go on calling my doctor, doctor. I haven't conducted a survey on it, but I'll wager that most doctors still prefer to be called doctors and not healthcare providers or medical professionals or wellness practitioners. And certainly not government employees.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.