COMMENTARY

Why Doctors Need to Be Gutsy

Michael Langan, MD

Disclosures

January 11, 2017

In This Article

Many Factors Lead Doctors to Remain Silent

Doctors have been subjected to an intentional diminution of stature, and much of this has to do with the moral panics and bogus dangers regarding doctors that has been spewed to the public by some of the very same organizations, as they have gained a seat at the table of power.

Rank-and-file doctors exist not in a repose of complacency, but of disquietude. By nature, they do not typically speak up. Most are afraid to. They have effectively been stifled by threat and fear. What is stunning is how common this is.

Historically, doctors have not vociferously spoken up as much as those in other professions. They tend to remain quiet and do not want to make waves. I have been contacted by many doctors who could speak out and make a difference, but they don't.

The question that incessantly tugs at me is: When will these people say "Enough," and say something? Can what has been done even be undone at this point?

What does it take for someone to stop bemoaning the current state of medicine quietly and silently, and get gutsy enough to vociferously protest and rebel? Margaret McCartney, internist in Glasgow, Scotland, writing in the BMJ, tells us that it's a sense of vocation that keeps the healthcare profession going, with doctors committed to going the extra mile. But this commitment also means that professionals can be exploited, she says, and that vocation "needs to be ballsy and capable of rebellion."[4]

We too need to stand as one and speak out against illegitimate and irrational authority. We need to be able to proclaim, "Enough is enough."

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