Lousy Bedside Manner?

I’ve never been as impressed by doctors as I’m supposed to be. It’s a lot of work to get through medical school, but I’ve never seen much evidence that it requires a lot of intelligence, at least not as much as some would have you believe, and certainly not enough to justify the arrogance of many of the practitioners of the medical profession. I’ve seen too many medical screwups, and known too many (successful) pre-med students who didn’t seem all that brilliant to me. I’ll confess that I probably couldn’t either get into med school, or through it, but not because I lack intelligence–it’s because I lack the more important qualities–persistence (not to mention desire) and a good memory.

Anyway, this is preamble to linking to a column by Marjorie Williams, in which she puts her finger on something that’s been bothering me about Howard Dean as well. He’s an MD, with a manner to match. I agree with her that her thesis has great explanatory power.

Of course, I don’t know if we can generalize this to all physicians. After all, Bill Frist has been a fairly successful politician, and as far as I can tell, his medical training doesn’t seem to have harmed his career–he’s one of the people to watch to replace Dubya in 2008.

[Update on Tuesday]

Galen, who runs a doctorblog, says that one reason that doctors won’t admit error is fear of losing lawpractice suits. And congratulations to the new addition to the family and the planet (go to the main page and scroll down).