I added this back in December, but I saved the draft since I had some reservations about so simplistically maligning physicians. My goal certainly isn't to denounce medicine, but rather I do think conversations like this one highlight some of the worst of medical practice. I've already written on my affection for Atul Gawande's perspectives on medicine, and I have immense respect for the practice of medicine. What I don't understand (in any field, really) is the arrogance that one's understanding and insights are impeccable.
From one of our transcripts:
"M: Do you think it influences your assessment if the results are more consistent along what you would expect?
DR: Oh, absolutely.
M: If it had been reversed and we saw higher response rates in that XX group?
DR: The data is actually very believable. Obviously every one of us forms our own hypothesis as we read these, and if it doesn't come out the way we thought then we know that we don't have any errors in our judgement so it has to be the data. I learned that in medical school.
M: That you have perfect judgement?
DR: Yes, and if not you gave me the wrong data.
M: It's good for you to be confident. You're making important decisions.
DR: There you go."