The Deterioration of Contact in the Medical Profession

I graduated from medical school in 1959 during the authoritarian era. At that time, every young physician had a “doctor’s bag” with all sorts of medical paraphernalia in it such as a stethoscope, an ophthalmoscope, tongue depressors, etc. because, in those days, it was common for doctors to make house calls. Sixty years later, in today’s anti-authoritarian society, it is almost impossible for someone to get an appointment with a physician let alone receive a return phone call from him.

How did this change come about? Early on in their medical education medical students today are taught to view the patient as a machine composed of individual organ systems, organs, etc. By focusing exclusively on the broken part of the “machine” (the “disease”) they lose contact with the human being that has the affliction. Their mechanistic training makes them fall prey for the entrance of large corporations into the practice of medicine by hiring doctors and expecting them to practice medicine according to the time-saving, quantitative rules used in the business world. This fits in, hand and glove, with the mechanistic training of the physician. Private medical practice became transformed into corporate medical practice, another casualty of the anti-authoritarian transformation of our society.

The takeover of medical practice by large corporations is an example of the intrusion of socialism, corporate socialism into the practice of medicine. What is lost is the authority of the doctor in the way he wants to practice medicine and the quality of the doctor-patient relationship. What is gained is a layer of social armor that dictates how medicine must be practiced.


  1. … and the patient can suffer because some doctors hesitate to step into the ‘territory’ of another physician who is also treating the same patient,.

    • You are touching on the subject of medical ethics.

      • Yes.

  2. Paragraph two: they lose contact, not “loose” contact.

    I am continually shocked at how often I see intelligent people who should know better make this error, amidst writing that otherwise has correct spelling and grammar.

    • Ripple, you should be shocked at your false concern for grammar which underlies your contempt for intelligent people.

    • Ripple, You must be an editor or a proofreader -a worthwhile and important profession. However, I think that your concern for grammar is overriding, in your mind, Dr. Konia’s message.

  3. Since the industrial revolution, and before, the majority of humans have been involved in making and using things (contact with the non-living) and more than half the workday only relating to each other about how best to do so. Is it any wonder that we have acquired a mechanistic frame of mind while we slowly drifted away from the living?

  4. I think you are pointing to the spread of contactlessness in all areas as the state takes
    over … and to the loss of individual choice … and to decisions being made for (and not necessarily by) individuals about who they ‘should’ be which is not necessarily who they want to be and are at their core. A destructive homogenization??

    • Exactly

    • I feel the same way, judy. This is happening on the social scene and concurrently, in the family setting. One has to fight on two fronts: maintain core contact first in the family, but on the social level … I don’t know..

  5. It is terrifying.

    • It is terrifying for someone who is in contact with what is happening.

  6. Thank you. Yes.

  7. Isn’t the real, or rather immediate, problem of contact in the medical practice embodied in the nightmarish sentence: “Follow accepted medical practice, or get sued.” The lawyer scourge forces the physician into obedience with “accepted (mechanistic) practice,” poisons the relationship between doc and patient, and “empowers” the patient to indulge in antiauthoritarianism. The lawyer as the (oedipal) revenger of the Little Man! On top it makes the profession so absurd costly that “Bernie Sanders’ medical socialism” becomes attractive, even “rational,” in a weird way.

    • What you are describing is the operation of the emotional plague in our anti-authoritarian social order.

  8. Maurice, I find it increasingly hard to handle in the social scene and also the on the personal level. It is very frustrating. I think that one either sees and feels it, or one does not. I don’t think it can be manufactured. Nice to find a kindred spirit, Maurice. Judy

    • Likewise, judy. -M.

  9. It looks like you’ve misspelled the word “knowledgable” on your website. I thought you would like to know :). Silly mistakes can ruin your site’s credibility. I’ve used a tool called in the past to keep mistakes off of my website.


    • Thank you.

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