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Alcatraz Revisited

Updated on January 24, 2013

A critique of my own ilk

---"Prison works wonders for vanity in general and for the secret sardonic derisiveness of doctors in particular. All doctors should spend two days in prison. They'd treat their patients better as fellow flawed humans. Prison can restore their humanity if not their faith."---

The medical profession is not unlike any other form of human undertaking, in that it is made up of people whose characterstic permutations range from the ascetic to the zealot, from the saint to the scoundrel.

These are obviously the extremes in a continuum, and what binds Sir Joseph Lister to Hannibal Lecter and everyone else in between is the all too obtrusive sense of self-importance that doctors, from the alleviative allergist to the sulfurous surgeon, from the specious specialist to the genial generalist, from the clamorous clinician to the resolute researcher, often impose on their fellow humans. Underneath the doctor's punctilious demeanor, one can frequently see bubbling to the surface, the scorn with which he showers lesser humans, and even lesser gods. Some of them have elevated this attitude to an art form. How else can one explain the cardiologist who insists that he alone will make the important decisions on a patient that was referred to him by the internist; or the ophthalmologist who throws a surgical instrument to the floor because the assisting nurse handed him the wrong one; or the obstetrician who mutters obscenities because the prospective mother will not push hard enough.

Perhaps the suggestion that doctors spend two days, and maybe more, in prison (Alcatraz will do nicely) is valid after all. Prison should bring them down to earth fast, change them into ordinary mortals again, and make them susceptible to that most mortal of affliction--death.. The rest of humanity could then sigh with relief and wish that death would finally turn these pretentious demigods into vague memories, mist from other days until they are absorbed into oblivion.


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    • webnatin profile image

      webnatin 7 years ago

      This is an eye opener for us.

    • A.Villarasa profile image

      Alexander A. Villarasa 7 years ago from Palm Springs

      Hello Mr. Shaw:

      Thanks for the comment. I must tell you though, that the practice of changing patient's medications because of cost concerns(mostly mandated by insurance companies) does not only happen in a prison setting but also in a private practice setting as well. I should know.... I am a practicing pediatrician here in Palm Springs.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I visited Alcatraz this year :-; I agree with you concerning Doctors and especially concerning prisons. I find it sad that jailhouse doctors often will change a patient/inmates working medications in favor of something more affordable-that doesn't work as well, or at all.