March 30, 2017

Forgot we were political creatures

In clinic the other day, something funny happened to me. A peer had just wrapped up a patient visit and she turned to me, saying "I hate it when patients start talking about their political views." Yup, that can be super annoying. "It's the worst when liberals start talking about this-and-that - don't they know they're in a conservative place!"

Uh. Honey, have you seen my rainbow caduceus pin (the two snake Hermes symbol that hasn't granted me the power of flight yet, but I'm still hoping) right there on my white coat, in front of your eyes? My "I'll go with you" transgender support pin on my backpack? The fact that I have alluded to my immense hatred for Trump in our prior conversations?

For some reason, I continue to assume that doctors are innately destined to be liberals (Hi Ben Carson, forgot you existed briefly), at least social liberals. We're in a career that is so centered on "helping people" that we can't even say during medical school interviews that we want to help people - because it's such a given! Doesn't helping people mean looking after them not only when they need healthcare, but then they can't afford healthcare, when they can't afford housing, when they can't afford the basic living standards that others can? What's all this about selectively helping people? It starts to sound like being a doctor is just a bottom-line paycheck career.

I continue to be flummoxed.

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