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Editorial: Doctors care about profit, not patients

Doctors are not God.

Nor should they ever be perceived in such way by the patient, the doctor or the public.

Medical science is exactly that - science. Yet the world has allowed itself to create the persona of the almighty doctor, giving those professionals the right to play God, allowing these men and women the decision to take or give life.

Bull. What happens when a doctor tells you what you don't want to hear? You get a second opinion. Odds are, you'll hardly get the same opinion twice. Medical science is not an exact science and to give it omnipotence is both deadly and stupid.

Maybe the public perception of medical science isn't helped by moronic shows such as "ER," which is the biggest pile of junk ever conceived. At any time in the show we see at least six or seven doctors in the emergency room of this fabled hospital, even in the dead of night. Really. My father worked the night shift at Presbyterian Hospital emergency room for more than 10 years and was usually the only doctor there at night, with perhaps one or two nurses to accompany him.

Oh, but this is Albuquerque, you say. Not that many people live in Albuquerque, as say, New York City. Yet even with 15 doctors in the emergency room in a large city won't keep the flow going so smoothly. People wait in line for hours with broken bones, pneumonia and other ailments for hours before treatment, no matter where you happen to be.

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That brings in the malpractice issue. With HMOs, managed care and hospitals run like straight-up businesses, it's essential for malpractice insurance to exist. Businesses don't care about "patients," they care about "customers." With that thought process in mind, your broken bone is the equivalent of an overheated car motor.

The issue about malpractice insurance premiums drastically increasing and doctors retiring or limiting their services doesn't bring a tear to my eye, though. What's not told about are the millions of people who can't even afford health insurance to be treated at any of these hospitals, let alone file a malpractice suit.

Doctors make more money than most of us can even dream of bringing in. They do it in ways that make you want to gag, too. They pilfer expensive prescription pills for drug companies, basically pimping the latest drug and getting a little extra on the side. My father doesn't do that, but he still gets paid more than I'll ever be paid to be a journalist.

Doctors aren't God. They're businessmen concerned about profit. What they say is never set in stone. Always question them and when in doubt, sure, sue the hell out of them.

The real issue that needs addressing in this country, however, isn't the "controversy" about increased malpractice insurance premiums, it's why so many people in this country aren't getting the care they need. Most doctors who work at county clinics barely eke out a living. These doctors are noble human beings who care about others.

But do you really think most doctors will treat you if you don't have the means to pay them? Get real.


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