Discomfort

Dear Dr. Watson:

As Dean of the medical school, you have a responsibility to train the next generation of health care providers.  I believe the time has come for some significant changes in our curriculum.

First, we should prohibit physicians from asking questions about illness and health.  We are taught, “first, do no harm.”  But talking about their symptoms might make some people uncomfortable.  They might feel guilty about the fact that they still smoke, or experience mental anguish when confronted with the need to reduce their salt intake.

Similarly, we should not be prescribing treatments that have any side effects, even if it is a minor discomfort.  It is not right to make someone uncomfortable solely because they have an illness.

You could argue that if we don’t ask questions about health or provide treatments, patients would not get healthy.  But honestly, I think we are making too big a deal about health.   These days, it seems everyone is trying to make everything about health. You can’t turn on the TV or the radio, or look at social media, without someone raising the issue of health. Health might have been an issue a long time ago, but now that we have antibiotics, illness isn’t a problem anymore.  People need to just get over it.

Now that we have finally stopped making people uncomfortable by talking and teaching about race, thanks to legislators in Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and other places, it’s time to stop making people uncomfortable about their health status.

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