Thursday, March 28, 2013

Research Fail

Most physicians don't understand the drugs they prescribe. They're cognizant of the fact that someone, somewhere, developed a peach-colored tablet that is housed in a nearby pharmacy. They subscribe to restricted databases that give them search results verifying whether or not there will be a conflict between Drug A and Drug B, based on clinical trials they once heard a brief lecture about in between fourteen-hour shifts sewing up split skin. They don't know how to do research because they've never done it, but they think they could if they had to, because they were once required to write a forty-page paper on improving patient interactivity, using secondary sources housed at their school's library. (There are, like, biochem PhDs out there to handle the hard stuff.)
"Uh, Jerry? The patient that just left Room 4--did you tell her that if she switches to something else without a gradual phasedown on [drug], it could kill her?"

"Huh? Oh, the [drug]? Sorry; I only had eight years of college and two years of residency so far."

"Are you going to call her?"

"Wha...? Oh, the lady with the [drug]. Uh, the guy at CVS'll probably tell her."

The further divorced functionaries become from the knowledge that is supposed to be guiding them, the more mystical their knowledge, and the more revered they have to be. The more people fear reading the Bible for themselves or duplicating experiments in an independently verifiable fashion--the essence of science--the more power god-kings gain.

Of course, the organic chemistry graduate students won't do very well if they can't understand basic statistics, but they tend to be way ahead of the MDs.

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