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Who is the Ideal Doctor?

The Goodest Boy!

By Richard Umurtqasiz, MD

He is not what you think. It has nothing to do with bedside manner or diagnostic skills. No, we mean, who is the ideal doctor from the perspective of the people who actually matter – useless, money grubbing, administrators. These are the parasites in charge of the crumbling medical system and their opinions and whims dictate the most desirable characteristics of the ideal doctor.

The ideal doctor is servile. He devotedly seeks to serve his masters, the chairmen of departments and hospital suits who burden him with rules, policies, documentation requirements, and ever-increasing workloads. He is slavish and punctual, unctuous, and smarmy. Like a half-starved third world donkey with open sores this beast of burden unflinchingly submits without question to any burden loaded onto his back.

The ideal doctor is craven. Having read and memorized the Bible thick Policies and Procedures manual and Behavior Expectations Guidelines, this overly educated and gutless rule-follower would not dare deviate in the slightest from the many, contradictory, and often nonsensical rules. He will modulate the pitch of his voice with acumen, raising it when addressing superiors (anyone in a suit) to signal that he is cooperative and nonthreatening. If the rules allowed him to flop onto his back mid staff meeting and curl his arms and legs in submission like the runt of a litter of golden retrievers, he would do so without hesitation.

The ideal doctor is neutered. It is a wonder that he can reproduce all. Any masculine traits or independent thoughts that he once had were, over the course of many years meticulously excised through a subtle, relentless process. Endless morning meetings and conferences where he was forced to sit quietly in meditative awe before his superiors, frightening lectures on sexual harassment, career guidance by spineless mentors, lack of exercise, recurrent spikes of cortisol, central obesity, and divorce all reinforce the sense that he has no agency and is trapped. As his testicles shrink and are ultimately removed, his standing in the all-important eyes of his superiors go up.

The ideal doctor self-censors. In his moment-to-moment obsession to be inoffensive, he parses every word before uttering it. The ever-present threat of a harsh HR email, a meeting with the chair over an “unprofessional” comment, or *gasp* accusations of speaking to someone in unfriendly tone, keeps him hyper vigilant and on edge. He spends so much time biting his tongue, he could almost function without one. He knows well that his livelihood depends on his not speaking his mind on any matters of real importance.

The ideal doctor is gynocentric. This is part of his mandated religion. Most HR reps are women, as are most nurses, techs, and ancillary staff. He is surrounded by women and must worship them. He does so competently and with fluency. Like a fellow traveler he is acutely sensitive to their feelings, sensibilities, and predilections. He understands that men are scary, toxic, and their speech and preferences are of little importance (unless they are the men in suits, of course). He participates in girl talk and commiserates with ladies about the established fact that there “are no good men”. He wears the breast cancer ribbons and is gentle as a fluffy little lamb.

The ideal doctor is unoriginal. He knows that although the dictates of the well-meaning and benevolent administration may not be perfect, they are for the best.  Why would the ideal doctor want to mess with near perfection and rock the boat? He wouldn’t and he doesn’t. If something needs to be fixed, improved, or changed, the good people in the C-suite will come up with the big original ideas to make things better. The ideal doctor’s job is to implement them without questions and eschew any initiative, even if it means running the hospital into the ground and his patients into their graves. No originality required!

The ideal doctor is in debt. Someone must pay for his over-education and training and ideally it is the ideal doctor himself, through high interest, undischargeable student loans. The more debt, the better! It makes for a nice albatross for him to carry around on the wards, and a wonderful control mechanism for the administrators to gently remind him that poverty and homelessness are just a misstep away. Naturally, the idea doctor accepts this burden without complaint and lowers his standard of living and that of his family accordingly.

The ideal doctor is comfort-seeking. After so many years of hardship in medical school, residency, fellowship, and his early career, the ideal doctors seeks respite from his hectic schedule. He will do almost anything for a little bit of relief. He will abide by any rule, avoid any conflict, accept any directive if that means he can obtain the comfort he craves and a secure, but dwindling and heavily taxed, paycheck twice a month.

The ideal doctor is isolated. He knows that his problems are unique to him and that working with other doctors to improve the healthcare system would be a fool’s errand. He knows that doctors in other specialties wouldn’t really understand his situation anyway. He knows that working together with other doctors in any meaningful way to improve patient care, reduce waste, or improve the lives of people working in hospitals is better left to the people who know better. He also knows that a strike or collective action is probably illegal and definitely immoral.

The good news is that there are many, many ideal doctors in hospitals, clinics, ORs, and ERs all over the country that administrators, medical societies, and large hospital systems can take pride in training. They will be there for years to come, tails wagging, eager to please, just waiting to do whatever is asked of them.

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