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Confessions of a 3.5 star doctor


Me: “Forgive me Father,  for I have sinned”

God: “Yes, my child, what sin would you like to confess?”

Me: “According to the internet, I’m only a mere 3.5 star doctor.”

God: “Well, why do you think you’re only a 3.5 star doctor?”

Me: “According to the internet, I didn’t prescribe a z-pack to Janie*, because she had a cough since this morning and demanded it while in my office a few hours later. I was a “horrible, uncaring excuse for a doctor” to ignore such an easy diagnosis. When I tried to explain to her that antibiotics don’t treat viral infections, and that by prescribing an antibiotic, I would be doing her more harm than good, that antibiotic resistance is increasing all around us, and that it will only cost her money, I was met with her cold stares, promises to get a ‘virtual visit online with a doctor who has a real degree’ and evidently 2 hours later, her scathing review on Yelp.


I’m so sorry Father! I should have really listened to my patient!  I should have consciously prostituted the years of medical knowledge and experience and just given her the z-pack so I’d enjoy the heavenly bliss that awaits only those selected, truly glorious 5-star doctors who mindlessly and robotically write prescriptions for every whim and desire of their patients.”


God: “Hmmmm. I see this could be a potential problem for you, my son. What else?”


Me: “Jim* came in with ‘horrible fibromyalgia for years’ that doctors have always ‘treated with pain meds like Vicodin and Percocet’. When I told Jim that chronic fibromyalgia should never be treated with narcotics, he told me that no other drug has helped him. I asked him if he’s tried an exhausting list of potential non-narcotic fibromyalgia medicines, including a few that don’t even treat fibromyalgia, just to see what he said.” 


God: “What did he say?”


Me: “He’s tried them too, and they don’t work either. When I tried to tell him the physiological basis for why I couldn’t prescribe Percocet for his fibromyalgia, he appeared visibly agitated and left my exam room, left my office, and apparently, left another scathing review on Google.  


I know I promised I’d study really hard in high school to get good grades. In college, when my friends were  partying, dancing, and tailgating, I retreated back to the study hall and chemistry lab, so I could eke out the extra point on the final exam or extra credit for chemistry lab, before I could even sit for the MCAT exam four years later. 


Of course the MCAT exam was brutal, as was trying to juggle my pre-med classes with my undergraduate major coursework, much of which had nothing to do with medicine or science. Then getting into medical school for another four years where I then decided to pay ungodly (Sorry, Father, no offense) gobs of money for the privilege of helping other people get better. Then of course, 3 more years of residency where I started making some real money (it averaged $2.25 per hour, yes I actually calculated it) after med school. Silly me for thinking of anything other than just mindlessly signing my name to everything that says ‘z-pack’ or ‘hydrocodone’. Who needs 7 years of post college education to do that? I’m really sorry for wasting all those good, youthful years on pointless medical education.”  


God: “Hmmmm. Well, my son, I see your predicament. But it’s time to become a real man now. Suck it up. Get over it. People have been complaining about my sunsets for millennia. Guess what? The whole sunset thing isn’t going to change anytime soon, regardless of how many people give sunsets a 1 star rating. It doesn’t bother me one bit.  The same with medicine. If you keep doing the right thing, at the right time for your patients, you’ll be a fine doctor. Forget those pesky online reviews. You got some good one too, you know.  Don’t take it too hard. After all, Moses averaged 2.9 stars  after the 12 tribes of Israel’s final voting and I personally know him to be a really great guy”. 


Me: “Thank you! I’m so glad I don’t have to fork over even more cash now to murky ‘online reputation’ companies so I can set the record straight! I’m so glad to have a fresh new perspective on my value as a doctor!” 


God: “No problem, glad to help. But don’t push the envelope. There’s a fine line between doctors or devils, and geniuses or idiots”. 


(*names changed, of course)

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