When I visit a doctor, I am struck by the contrast between background and foreground. Behind the doctor stands massive institutional structures - science, the great and profitable pharmaceutical companies, many years of higher education, tradition and fraternity, laws and technology. The doctor sits at the pinnacle of the medical industrial complex. His foundation is solid, his background is massive and supportive and, despite the undignified complaining, there are very few poor doctors in America.
But when I look closely at the doctor, listen carefully and observe his nervous impatience, I see a mechanical man. His senses are no longer instruments of diagnosis - most doctors couldn't diagnose malaria, an overheated liver or a bug from a virus. He is no longer familiar with thousands of antibiotics or the hundreds of new drugs sent to him by pharmaceutical companies. He no longer is willing to spend more than seven minutes, if that, with a patient.
A recent magazine article stated that the average doctor will interrupt a patient within 25 seconds. This is hardly medicine or the art of healing. Curing is not the function here. Doctors today, without knowing it, are practicing the ancient science of impetuous movement. An impetuously moving body can be neither stung nor crushed, delayed nor sued, held responsible nor become personal, will neither care, comfort or consider. His time is measured in dollars. His waiting room is purposely crowded. This stokes his reputation and excuses the short shrift he gives you.