Doctors are women and men who have studied years and years, gathering the best knowledge available to help you solve health issues whenever those arrive, right? Well, yes of course that is a good definition (and I’m absolutely thrilled that they are there and do just that), but it does not cover all possible angles.
Let’s for example try to come up with addtional definitions for some subcategories of the medical profession, from an economic perspective:
medical specialist: someone who will only make some decent money if whatever is wrong with you is caused by something related to her/his specialty
surgeon: someone who only makes money if (s)he can cut you open
plastic surgeon: someone who stops earning money when you look perfect
psychiatrist: someone who stops earning money the minute (s)he utters the words “There is nothing wrong with you.”
general practitioner: someone who will only keep earning money from you if (s)he consistently provides you with the correct diagnosis
OK, admittedly that’s all a bit over the top (except for the last one), but still it can be a very useful dimension to keep in mind when seeking medical advice.
As consumers we are being offered, in an increasing number of domains, the choice between ‘big brand’ products and store brands or ‘white labels’. A nice way to save some money, right? Especially since more and more research is showing that the quality is very much comparable (if not completely the same, or at least being manufactured in the same production facilities), why not choose the cheaper alternative for everyday products such as milk or paper tissues?
Obviously: yes. Circumstances where the question “Is there a doctor in the house?” is appropriate suggest a situation characterized by the unexpected appearance, in the presence of a restricted group of people, of events or symptoms that are clearly hinting towards an medical emergency. Of course a medically trained professional is then by far the best option for succesfully solving the problem (and hopefully save a life, or reassure the crowd that is was a false alert, or reprimand anyone whose sense of humor is sick enough to include faking a medical emergency).
The real question I want to raise is this: “Should you consult a physician for all health-related problems – even (and especially) those without events or symptons that are clearly hinting towards an medical emergency?” Continue reading →