Skepchick Quickies 8.19


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I love that Patch Adams made that list. When I was an undergrad surrounded by other premeds, a very, very depressing number of them loved that movie. It seemed to feed the infectious attitude among many of those struggling academically that it’s soooo unfair that the med school admissions process focuses on academic ability instead of how much you really care about people (because good students can’t possible care). The movie actively ridiculed the medical students that were studying hard in order to know their shit.

    Ideally a physician is knowledgeable, likable and compassionate, but bottom line: An entertaining and outgoing personality might separate a good doctor whom patients like going to from a good doctor who does her job, while really knowing your shit separates a good doctor from an incompetent, dangerous quack!

  2. MacAfee doesn’t like that last link. It says: ‘When we tested this site, it attempted to make unauthorized changes to our test computer by exploiting a browser security vulnerability. This is a serious security threat which could lead to an infection of your computer. ‘

  3. The “Five Worst Quacks” was great.

    The oldest animal fossil article was great. 650 MYA – the reign of those smug unicellular bastards was now only a scant 3 billion years before we took to the scene!

  4. @DataJack: I love being part of a “we” that includes all multicellular life. Though our chauvinism needs to be tempered by the fact that those smug bastards are still kicking our asses biomass-wise.

  5. Good. Since I have “early-onset psoriasis” already, I can continue to drink beer! Woo! :)

    (I have a pretty mild case and from my anecdotal experience as a fairly light-but-regular drinker, it doesn’t seem to affect it one way or another.)

  6. @B Hitt,

    I remember the first time I met a premed who was motivated by the film patch adams to go into medicine. I asked her what kind of doctor she wanted to be (meaning family, internal, peds) and then listened to her talk for 15 minutes about how she wanted to make patients laugh, hold their hands, comfort the family, provide love, companionship and so on. I responded that she didn’t mention anything about actually treating a patient, and she replied that there were things that were more important than clinical treatment (which she referred to as cold and inpersonal). I told her that even if that were true a dog could provide better comfort, love, companionship and humor than some person who doesn’t know the patient or patient’s family from a hole in the ground…and would require significantly less training….and far less taxpayer expense. If I need medical care I can receive my comfort and humor from my family. What I can’t receive from them is medical care which is why I am going to hospital or doctor’s office instead of the circus in the first place.

    Since that time any subsequent premeds or medical students who are enamored by the movie have left me similarly unimpressed, to the point where I believe that any medical school interview should ask about movies that motivated their decision to pursue medicine and saying patch adams would be an automatic rejection.

  7. @B Hitt: @wayward son:

    It’s true that most people only remember the fun and games part of Patch Adams, but perhaps a more helpful response to that would be to remind them that Patch is also consistently the highest scoring student in his class, which leads to his being accused of cheating and the whole mess the movie is all about. Patch does not neglect the academic side of being a doctor. He simply choses not to detach.
    And don’t get me wrong, I know detachment is necessary and serves a useful purpose – namely to keep the doctor sane. And I know that the movie is so busy pushing the “message” that it really doesn’t do enough to emphasize the fact that Patch is a competent doctor, with all the academic achievement and hard work that entails. But it is there nonetheless. It might be more productive to let the movie become inspiring in that area also rather than turn this issue into a false dichotomy by which you are either caring or you are competent.

  8. Nice summary in the Patch Adams bit:
    “In reality, the Gesundheit Institute became a nexus of “alternative” therapies such as acupuncture, naturopathy, and homeopathy or—as they are known to actual scientists—“kinda bullshit”, “bullshit” and “supreme bullshit”. “

  9. About the “15 movies that have killed people” … entertaining, but not skeptically oriented in the least. The entire post is a bow to the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy.

    Not to mention that one of the citations is to Fox News about “immune boosting” (woo) benefits of masturbation.

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