Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MD-PhD Smackdown

I've taken quite the hiatus from blogging. Some of you seem to still be hanging around and I admire your persistence.

This last month I've been cramming on a manuscript that I want to go out the door before I get scooped. Now that it's nearly done I've lost all my motivation. The analysis was fun but now the last minute tweaking is a major drag. I hoped to submit it this month but I have been a bit distracted the last 2 days. And now I'm leaving for a few days vacation (Yay!) So I guess it won't be till the following week.

Anywho, the topic of this post is a long-standing rivalry that I face routinely: the MD-PhD fight. As a PhD in a medical field, this is a battle I face routinely in my professional life. I prefer to leave it there and keep it out of my personal life but recently, it crept right in where it didn't belong.

A few weeks ago I went to a ob/gyn I found through a referral hotline. In the past, my criteria for gyns was complicated and I really missed the mark this time by bypassing my usual selection process (involving a tedious internet search process involving the following criteria: faculty member at prestigious medical school, no pending complaints to the medical licensing board, bonus points for board certification, fellowships in family planning, some scientific publications, advocate/user of IUDs, volunteer work at select non-profit organizations, political donations to appropriate candidates, membership in abortion-rights, universal healthcare, and select reproductive health organizations, and editorials and/other other advocacy regarding the above). Come on, you all know I'm obsessive compulsive about research so this should be no surprise.

So I go to this gyn who fits 1 1/2 of the above categories. He was very jovial and had a superb bedside manner. When he found out my line of work, he was very excited and said "That's great! The world needs more people like you!" Well, so far so good. But then he embarked on (an obviously well-rehearsed and un-educated) tirade in which he dismissed ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES ON WOMEN'S HEALTH. Apparently, one of the main reasons this research was so horrible is because they didn't have a single gynecologist on their initial published finding (one of the most highly cited articles in the field, btw), it was all PEOPLE LIKE ME WRITING IT. Also, it was horrible research because it "confuses" his patients and now he has to explain something to them (Why worry the little ladies so much? I know what's best for them!) I won't go a ton of details here but I will tell you this: I knew, immediately, he had absolutely no fucking clue what he was talking about. OTOH, this finding is something I know a thing or two about. I tried, and succeeded, to keep it collegial.

Listen, MDs, I wouldn't presume to tell you how you should conduct a physical exam or prescribe medicine. (Although I will tell you that this guy doesn't practice evidence based medicine on either of those fronts, much to my dismay.) Please don't tell me how to do my job.

On another note about the patriarchy, check out how real princesses live their lives.

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