Stop Trying to Prove Doctors Wrong

Posted on August 12, 2015

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I came across a headline that read ‘The World’s Most Precise Clock Could Prove Einstein Wrong’. Apparently a clockmaker invented an atomic clock so precise that it could disprove some of Einstein’s theories on the constancy of certain physical properties. Guys like this clockmaker annoy me to no end. Don’t you hate those people who are always trying to prove others wrong? Like the guy in your office who tells you ‘irregardless’ is not a word? Or my wife saying I missed our son’s baseball game, and I insisted I was definitely at the game but sitting really far away, and she demanded to know which team won the game and the color of our son’s team’s uniform? Can’t we all be more positive and stop trying to prove people wrong?

I think doctors have it the worst. If you enter ‘prove+doctor+wrong’ into Google, it returns 64,200,000 results. C’mon, people, stop trying to prove doctors wrong. People always start these inspirational stories by saying:

‘The doctor said I would never walk again, but I vowed to prove him wrong.’

‘The doctor told me I had six months to live, but I vowed to prove him wrong.’

‘The doctor said my sexual advances were unwelcome, but I vowed to prove him wrong.’

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But I don’t think it’s inspirational if the doctor tells you six months and you’re obstinate enough to live a year. I’d be more inspired if you lived exactly six months and not a day longer. Wow! Great job, science! If a doctor told me I had six months to live I’d say, ‘Whatever you say, doc. You’re the one who went to twelve years of medical school,’ and I would not dream of living a day longer than six months. Because I’m a team player. If the doctor said I would never walk again I would sell my shoes on eBay that very same day.

All day long a doctor must have to tell people they have six months to live, and those patients always think they know better. ‘I’m going to prove you wrong, doctor.’ And I bet those doctors just feel terrible. People think they’re so smart just because they prove the doctor wrong by living longer than the estimate, but you know, you can also prove the doctor wrong by living a shorter amount of time than the estimate:

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I’m not a fortuneteller. I’m a doctor. And I’m just doing my job.

‘The doctor said I had six months to live, and I’m like, “Bollocks! I’ll be dead in a week.”‘

‘The doctor said I’d never walk again, and I’m like, “I bet I’ll never use my arms again either. Let’s bet on it.”‘

‘The doctor said I couldn’t park in a handicapped spot, and I’m like, “I don’t know how to parallel park either.”‘

People don’t like it when a doctor says, ‘You have six months to live,’ but I’ve learned people like it even less when I say it. You’d think people would appreciate a free diagnosis, but they’re too fixated on being argumentative. Americans love to disagree, especially with our doctors. On average, the average American doesn’t like being called average. We all think we’re exceptional, even though on average, we’re all about the same. If you present a study disputing something we believe, we’ll tell you studies have shown more studies are needed.

But I think we can do better, society. Let’s be more positive and accept anything doctors or husbands tell us. Let’s focus less on proving people wrong and more on proving people right, irregardless of the evidence.

Posted in: Columns