Is this really how physicians see themselves?

Today I am working on more deeply understanding how medical organizations in Kansas and other states influence legislation. My web searches turned up the usual elements: passionately-stated positions on issues, hyperbole, fear-mongering, and way too many cheesy stock photos (a stethoscope held in a hand, a stethoscope by a gavel, a stethoscope on a computer keyboard, …). And then I found a webpage of the Medical Society of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, two counties in the Kansas City area. The writer of this page stepped a little further than what I usually encounter on webpages representing medical organizations. Here is a screenshot of text on the “About” page, apparently intended for an audience of physicians in Johnson and Wyandotte counties:

screenshot_Johnson_Wyandotte

(Screenshot of the entire page archived here.)

I feel the need to comment.

1) I am scared of these people. I now envision a mob of white-coated physicians, running through the streets, yelling and flailing stethoscopes at innocent bystanders. And I believe I am going to have nightmares tonight.

2) I realize that physicians are conditioned to believe that everyone and everything is out to get them. But let me try to be the voice of reason for a moment. Might some of these beliefs be escalated to completely unrealistic levels by language such as that above?

3) I have been holding onto the idea of having a rational discussion on disclosure of medical errors since the end of last year. However, rational discussions take at least two rational parties willing to step outside their own perceptions of the world and listen to each other. I am trying to not lose hope.

4) The experience of researching and writing this blog has convinced me that someday I need to teach a class on the rhetoric of healthcare. (I am an information designer, and rhetoric is a somewhat under-recognized aspect of this field.) This material is sure to spark a lively class discussion, and I thank the MSJWC for providing this.

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