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[IP] doctors vs. responsibility for self

I am usually a "lurker", but wanted to add my two cents to this argument.  
Let me start off by saying that I am a whole hearted advocate for 
responsibility for self in all areas of life.
That being said, I think people are forgetting one hugely important thing -- 
that there has been a real paradigm shift in the way most Americans think of 
doctors and health care in the past 20 years.

People are now actively encouraged to question medical authority, fight with 
insurance companies and generally keep themselves informed so that, well, 
you are not killed or maimed due to someone making a medical mistake.  News 
shows are lately very big on reporting stories of people who would still be 
alive today if they had questioned procedures, researched drug interactions, 
etc, etc, etc.

In this day and age of HMOs, having a different doctor for each body part 
and none of them communicating well with one another (usually),  everyone 
who wants to survive the system had better make sure they know what's going 

HOWEVER,  things did not always used to be this way.  We were not always 
afraid that our doctors were going to accidentally kill us, or that they're 
overworked and might miss something or that they might not propose a 
treatment that would make their jobs more difficult even if it improved our 
quality of life.  We used to believe that doctors had our best interests at 

We used to have real relationships with our doctors too, before there were 
so many specialties, before we had to change doctors every year because our 
employers are trying to save money by switching HMO's, and before we became 
such a society on the move.

Having said all that, there are many people who grew up in the world before 
HMOs who haven't changed their perspective, for whatever reason, and who 
probably never will.  It's not an easy thing to do.

Try this:  for those of you who are such strong advocates for self 
responsibility, try to shift your perspective the other way -- all of a 
sudden your doctor is a god, you would never think to question his 
recommendations (and it IS a "him" ;  ) ), and you have no desire, need or 
inkling that you ever should or COULD question what he says.  After all he's 
got your best interest at heart.  Anybody uncomfortable yet?  That's what 
happens when you ask someone to give up a basic belief on your say so, 
whether you happen to be right or not.  We have all constructed our beliefs 
after a lifetime of practice and experience -- just remember that not 
everyone's experience is the same.
Hoping only to expand your experience and empathy,
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