Practice of medicine in America has gone astray

I have reached the age when there is always someone I know undergoing some intrusive medical procedure. I am ever mindful of what a friend said to me years ago. He had been a doctor in China but lived in California. He had told me that he admired American surgical procedures and medical technology but believed that we had gone astray with our pharmaceuticals.

When I asked him about doctors, he said that he had noticed three things early on: He noticed that many doctors were ill; that many Americans were overweight; and that most American males were sexually enervated by age 40.

I explained to him that we practice prosecutorial medicine here, not preventative medicine. Doctors in hospitals are curators of disease, not scientists of health. I told him that people were complexes, syndromes, symptoms inside a doctor’s office, not people seeking understanding, compassion, help and advice about conscious changes that they might make.

His response stuck with me. He told me that wisdom was better than any medicine. And that no one can change its composition. He said that behind the physician stood the enigma of death. This always focused the attention and aspiration of the patient. The hurried physician, the inferior physician, the intellectual physician, the physician bound by tradition, peer pressure, standards, conditioning and training often failed to exercise his moral authority or to grasp the essential opportunity of the patient/physician relationship.

Raphael O’Suna