Lucy Mangan: Doctor, believe in me, you never want my opinion

GP surgery

‘It’s what waits inside the doctor’s area that has been truly revolutionised.’ Photograph: Dmitriy Shironosov/Alamy

One of the many delightful side-effects of pregnancy and birth, and of the consequent responsibility for the wellness of your situation, is that you devote a good deal much more time at the doctor’s than you did throughout the previous happy many years when your life and entire body had been your very own, and your pelvic floor responded to standard instruction with minimal fuss and backchat.

Issues certain have transformed because I last went (in childhood, with the normal array of ailments that my mother sooner or later had to reluctantly admit couldn’t be cured by soluble aspirin and shouting). Soft chairs and Television screens in waiting rooms rather of fish tanks, computerised databases rather of manila-jacketed notes acquiring your specifics wrong – but it is what waits within the doctor’s space itself that has been truly revolutionised.

I have misplaced count of the quantity of instances I have gone in, described my (or the child’s) symptoms and the doctor has begun to outline a diagnosis – only to start backtracking a couple of sentences later and grinding to a halt with some variant of, “But of course, you may have looked this up on the world wide web previously” and then waiting for me to… I will not know. Offer an view? Get a healthcare degree, come back and thrash out the pros and cons with him of an additional bottle of banana-flavoured amoxicillin?

Well, look, very first of all, I haven’t been near the net. I made a decision early on that somebody of my pessimistic inclinations need to not let herself to mix health issues with the unfiltered returns of a Google search. That way madness – by means of eyelid cancer, 33 new syndromes and signs of at least eight STDs, in spite of the fact that I haven’t played hostess to a penis of unknown provenance in over a decade – lies. And 2nd, my opinion is worthless. You expert. Me layman. I sit here, you inform me stuff. That is the way it operates very best.

But I comprehend why doctors are scared. Becoming a bona fide specialist is a difficult organization these days. Skills is no longer something to be admired. It is a liability. It seems, to our baffled contemporary sensibilities, somehow elitist and undemocratic. What was as soon as respected – the mindful, deliberate acquisition of knowledge – is now an affront.

It is offensive ample that individuals are born with distinct degrees of talent, which is why we now have tv displays predicated on the assumption that everybody’s got a proper to be well-known just for getting themselves, specially if themselves cannot carry a tune in a bucket with extra-massive, simple-grip handles but want to be international pop stars. But pity the poor medical doctor, whose quite presence behind the desk proclaims him not basically far more gifted but far better-educated, far better-informed, greater-every little thing-that-matters-during-this-particular-encounter than his individuals, striving to negotiate a connection with them in such a mad, mad, mad, mad globe.

But medical doctors (and each other physique of specialists) ought to stand up for themselves. This unusual mixture of fragile ego and rampant entitlement that suffuses the age devalues challenging-won understanding and, by implication, the techniques by which it is acquired, and helps no one. Least of all me. Who only demands some reassurance about this rash I have received. And when you see the place it is, you’ll realize why I couldn’t Google it. There’s some understanding we can all do without having.

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