Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis

Intolerance of error and culture of blame drive medical excess

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5702 (Published 14 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5702

Your Health Depends On You

Life is a quest for love. In order to receive love, we must be dependent. In order to give love, we must be independent. The conflict between dependence and independence affects every facet of our lives.

Life and love begin with our parents. As helpless babies, we depend on their care. With the right kind of care, we learn to love them and ourselves. With the right kind of parenting, we learn dependence and independence.

Of course, there is no perfect parenting. So we all have trouble with dependence and independence. Sometimes we are dependent when we should be independent, and vice versa.

Healthcare is reminiscent of childhood. The doctor is our parent, and we are helpless babies. We feel secure in his office, and long for his concern, reassurance, and medicine. We are awed by his jargon, worship his intellect, and feel totally dependent.

Of course, healthcare is not childhood. The doctor is not our parent, and we are not helpless babies - no matter how much we wish this were true. Sometimes, the doctor's words, procedures, and medicine do not solve our health problems.

Often, our health problems are the result of dehydration, malnutrition, and addiction. These problems are self-inflicted and require changes in our attitude and lifestyle. It takes independence and courage to make these changes.

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 October 2014
Hugh Mann
Physician
Retired
New York, USA