Friday, March 28, 2008
In the election we had last month, a local emergency physician ran and won for the ruling Conservative party. Now I have no issue with a physician running for a party that has eviscerated health care in the province; nor do I have any issue with the fact that physicians who go into politics are innevitably an embarassment to the profession; nor even with the fact that if a physician gets into a position of power they are never a friend to the profession.
What I have an issue that his campaign photo was a head and shoulder shot of him wearing an OR green top with his stethoscope hung over the back of his neck. This large photo is, as far as I know, still adorning a bus shelter I drive past too often. It is saying look at me, I am a doctor, I am cool, I save lives.
The old image of a doctor is of course a stethoscope dangling from the neck like a neck tie (which doctors innevitably wore in those days). I often wonder how often they snagged their stethoscope on something.
When I first started going to into hospitals as a medical student, nurses slung their stethoscopes around their necks which most doctors carried their stethoscopes in the pocket of their coats. (Surgeons never carried a stethoscope why would they?)
Gradually people started slinging their stethoscope over the back of their necks. Even I did. We thought it looked cool. Except you still snagged it on things plus the rubber irritated your neck (some people had cloth sleeves made for that purpose). In fact after a while with everybody doing it, it was no longer cool so I stopped as did most people and my stethoscope went back into my pocket. Somewhere along the way, I lost it or it was stolen. I now borrow stethscopes when I need one and I rely on the ETCO2 for tube placement (I still make medical students and residents listen!)
The image of a doctor used to be, a clean white coat, shirt, tie and nice pants. (These doctors were by the way always male). There seems lately to be a trend where doctors are photographed wearing OR greens and with a stethoscope or further props. The stethscope is after all only one of many tools a physician uses. Why didn't he have his picture taken using an otoscope, or a rectal glove?
Anyway why should it matter whether he is a doctor as to whether he will be a good member of the legislature. And certainly there are better ways to advertise your professional qualifications than to have your photo taken wearing your stethoscope.