Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I hate Bioethicists?

Back in June Maurice Bernstein on Bioethics Discussion Blog had an interesting post called "I Hate Doctors and..." A Brief Study on Google Search

In this post he detailed his experience of his blog being found in 2005 by someone who had searched for "I hate doctors". Inspired by this Maurice decided to use google search results as a litmus test for the popularity of doctors here are his results:

Doctors 18,300
Nurses 659
Lawyers 10,100
Politicians 994
Ministers 5
Police 704
Judges 676
Actors 623
Actresses 190
Plumbers 424
Used Car Dealers 127
New Car Dealers 7
Insurance Agents 10, Insurance Companies 684
Realtors 505

You might be concerned then about bioethicists, well not to worry, we may not be hugely loved, but at least we aren't hated...
Philosophers: 154
Medical Ethicists: 1
Bioethicists: 0
Ethicists: 0

Philosophers: 109
Bioethicists: 1
Medical ethicists: 0
Ethicists: 0

Of course the differences between us and doctors can be easily explained by the vastly smaller numbers of bioethicists, still it is nice to be loved!

On a serious note it is interesting that doctors are so unpopular, and an interesting discussion of if and why this is the case can be found on the bioethics discussion blog. My own view is that it is twofold. Firstly, it is easy for doctors, even with the best of intentions, to fall into the trap of paternalism, which I think makes them less popular. Secondly they are in a very hard position, where they will not, for a variety of reasons be able to help everyone, and trying to help can sometimes make things worse rather than better. Sometimes treatment can end up a little like the old lady who swallowed a fly, you end up having to chase the fly away with a spider which then means you have to add a bird to catch the spider and so on. Being the person who keeps introducing the new pests is not a popular position.

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