A Non-Robotic Doc
I just came off a couple of book gigs with Dr. Therese Zink. Check her out on my blogroll. She’s a community medicine professor and JAMA contributor from up North who asked me to collaborate on her southern tour to promote her country doctor compilation. (She chose one of my essays for the book, and also had me write a synopsis for one section) It was a grand opportunity to interact with young docs.
At one conference the subject of robot docs came up. I agree there are some procedures where robots outperform humans. I’m all for modern, as my 20/20 vision post successful cataract and retinal detachment surgeries will attest, but I also want to be sure we don’t ever take the human factor out of the equation.
I’ve always feared one day when I got old (and it is closing in on me) a trip to the doctor would be to go to some megasuperstore, sign in to see the robot, swipe your debit card and the cold hearted machine would spit out some half-baked diagnosis and not even pat you on the shoulder and tell you it was sorry. The right diagnosis without human empathy isn’t worth too much to me. (I realize some human docs act that way now; I’m against it)
As always, the answers to modern medicine are often in music and the arts. As they say on bluegrass radio, “watch out where you’re going, but don’t forget where you came from.” I was pleased so see how respectful these young docs are of tradition, but they are still very modern in their thought process. We’re gonna be in good hands.
When my gig is up down the road, I hope they will say, “Old Doc B wasn’t perfect, but at least he cared.”
My posts may be shorter for a while. I’m heavy into “Acquisition Syndrome” right now. More to follow.
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